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Why signing Jakob Silfverberg now is a mistake

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Jake breaks down the problems with the timing of the Silfverberg extension.

Ottawa Senators v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Nothing is official yet, but all signs seem to indicate that Jakob Silfverberg will re-sign with the Ducks on a 5 year deal with a $5.25 Million AAV.

This is not a good move for the franchise moving forward for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the cap situation this contract puts the Ducks in.

The Ducks have not announced the deal yet and will not until after the trade deadline on Monday due to tagging complications that come from this contract. For those who are unaware, tagging refers to a team not being able to commit more money to next year’s team than this season’s salary cap. However, after March 1st, there is a 10% increase on that ceiling salary cap ceiling. In addition to this, you must subtract any overage from this season for tagging purposes, per TSN.

The following is a pertinent excerpt from that TSN article:

“Using space from having Ondrej Kase on long-term injured reserve, the Ducks currently have a salary hit of $80.61 million this season - $1.16 million over the $79.5 million cap, per CapFriendly. The team already has $72.85 million committed in salary for next season, currently leaving them with $6.65 million in space, minus the overage, for this year and transaction costs.“

Basically, the Ducks have $5.49 million in tagging space at the current moment.

On top of the tagging issue, there is the actual cap implication this deal has on next season’s roster. Once the deal is announced, the team will have an expected cap hit of $77 million and an expected salary expenditure of $79 million. The cap will be rising from $79.5 million to $83 million per a Sportsnet report back in December. This leaves the Ducks with only $6 million left in cap space along with 6 roster spots to fill. That is not ideal at all for a team that should be going through a retool.

You want to give yourself cap flexibility in situations like this, and this deal does the exact opposite of that. Instead, the Ducks have now signed yet another player to a deal that will take that player into his mid 30’s, where he is likely not going to be providing the value that his contract dictates.

Regardless of your beliefs on Silfverberg’s ability to age, I think we can all agree that Silfverberg in his early 30’s will not match the production of current Silfverberg.

Now, the Ducks will need to move an asset, possibly either Cam Fowler or Adam Henrique, and attempt to not bring back any salary in the process, which will be a difficult task. The Ducks could also buyout Ryan Kesler, but that would leave a cap hit of roughly $2.3 million extending until the 2024-2025 season.

From a cap perspective, this deal has created more questions than answers, which is not a good situation for the current Ducks franchise.

Next, you now have roster composition issues. Jakob Silfverberg is a very good right winger in the modern day NHL and will most likely take up a top 6 right wing spot moving forward. That is the same position that the Ducks already have roster spots taken up by Corey Perry, Ondrej Kase, and Daniel Sprong, in addition to Carter Rowney and Devin Shore depending on what position you classify them.

On top of that, you have prospects Troy Terry and Kiefer Sherwood that have impressed this season with the both the Gulls and Ducks and will be pushing for full-time roles next season. Everyone is in love with the kids; I am guilty with my Terry love, so where are they going to fit that Silfverberg is signed?

Perry, in my opinion, is not going to be bought out this summer. The team will give the long-time Duck a full offseason and season to show how he has recovered from knee surgery.

You can see that Silfverberg being re-signed has created a log jam on the right side of the ice moving forward.

Are you, as the armchair GM of the Ducks, ok with making this signing, knowing the cap headache it would cause? We’re not saying that Silfverberg isn’t a good player; none of this is meant to take away from that. He is one of the better two-way wingers in the league and is a fairly consistent point producer. But given that talent combined with his value on the trade market, why sign him now?

As a former NHL executive stated to Josh Cooper and Eric Stephens of the Athletic, “He’s an expiring asset. They aren’t making the playoffs. Why wouldn’t you trade him?”

It has been years since the Ducks have been in a position to sell and try to improve their future, and Jakob Silfverberg was, without a doubt, the most enticing asset on this team for a playoff contender. He is on an expiring deal so he would be a pure rental. From a Ducks perspective, Brian Boyle fetched a 2nd round pick, Carl Hagelin got a 3rd and conditional 6th (yes that is the Carl Hagelin who is still on the deal the Ducks gave him and has 5 points in 22 games for the Kings), and Charlie Coyle got Ryan Donato and a 5th round pick (Coyle does have an extra year left on his deal). So the return on Silfverberg could have been a mid to high-end prospect or a 1st round pick. Either of those would significantly help the Ducks in their next contending window.

By trading him, you are not taking yourself out of the running of signing him on July 1. I would actually argue the opposite. Silfverberg is so close to testing the UFA market, that if he truly wanted to see his worth and not stay with the Ducks, he could have just waited until July 1 to sign a deal. The fact that he is reportedly signing the deal now shows that there is great interest from his end to stay a Duck.

It can’t be difficult to say, “Hey we really like you as a player and would like to keep you on the roster, but to help out the team long term it is better for us to move you for future assets. We are going to move you to a contending team, which gives you a run at a Stanley Cup now, and then we will offer you this same exact contract come July 1.”

You might view this as a stretch, but it has happened plenty of times in NHL history. See Tomas Plekanec last season with Montreal trading him to Toronto or Roman Polak a few years back getting moved to San Jose from Toronto.

No matter your opinion on the signing, the decision to not move Silfverberg for future assets is something that could hurt the future of the Ducks for a long time.

*All salary cap related information per CapFriendly