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July 23, 2017 | 10:56pm ET
Montreal's Cap Luxury

BY ANDREW SARRAZIN | TheFourthPeriod.com

MONTREAL, QC -- Alright, I've been holding out too long.

I didn't want to take Habs fans a full read while Markov was still a Free Agent. The idea of writing an article with this grey cloud in the air, only to have you read it, and God forbid, 30 minutes later Markov signs a new deal that contradicts all the predictions I would make in a post. The balancing act of writing a relevant article, being accurate and entertaining can all come crashing down with No. 79 signing on the dotted line.

I hate holding out on writing these articles, especially on the last ďsigningĒ the Habs execute while all sports writers take their off-season vacations due.

Oh well. I guess Iíll cross my fingers and hope Markov does me a solid by waiting two more weeks before signing, either with Montreal or another team.

That being said, I think this saga has to end. Relevant article or not, we can all agree this story needs a conclusion.

We are coming to the end of July, and the Montreal Canadiens have just over $9 million in salary cap space. The only thing on the burner, that Habs fans are aware of, is Markov signing a potential contract.

This leaves Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin in an interesting situation. Nine million dollars of cap space is an asset most teams would sell their souls for, but Markovís decision greatly impacts that huge cap luxury. Should he decide to sign either a one, or two year deal, itís going to great cut into that cap amount. The reports of salary value are all over the map, ranging from 4-7 million dollars (dependent on term). For arguments sake, letís imagine Markov gets $6 million annual salary -- what he originally asked for from the Habs. Without any moves, that leaves The Canadiens with roughly $3 million in cap space.

That cap relief is still nothing to shake your fist at, but itís also not $9 million. Signing Markov will greatly decrease the ability to spend those dollars elsewhere. That being said, there arenít any players currently available that would cost the Canadiens that much, anyway.

So the point of this rant is to lay out the scenario that whether Markov signs or not, if Bergevin is going to make a trade to land another impactful player, the addition of Markov will make that a bit more difficult.

Markov signs and Bergevin may have to move roster players to facilitate any trade of significance to make room under the cap.

If Markov doesnít sign, he has the ability to sell off promising younger players and draft picks to land an impactful player.

With an already depleted depth chart in Montreal, the interest of stockpiling younger players is more of a need that selling off anyone from an already depleted pool of talent.

The current story lines in Montreal are that there is still strong interest between Montreal and Markov. The other story is that the Canadiens have enough cap room to land a big player to add to the roster.

Both are possible, but it will take some interesting moves to make it happen. Nine million dollars on the cap sounds great, but itís sadly not that easy. Itís like going into a store and being able to afford the best television available, but not only do you have to pay the store for the television, they also want your bed. The best television would be amazing to have, but you need your bed, right? However, the TV can provide a lot more entertainment than a bed. Although, you sleep on your bed every night and itís very reliable.

This is the issue that the Canadiens are in.

The one avenue the Canadiens could consider if going after teams that are right against the cap, while still needing to sign their players to fill a roster. The Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals are in positions where they have multiple players to sign, and fill their roster, while having very little cap space to do so.

Only time will tell how the rest of summer will shape up. The Canadiens are in a good place with the cap, but star players never come cheap, no matter the situation -- whether through free agency or trade.

Andrew Sarrazin is the Montreal Correspondent for The Fourth Period. Follow him on Twitter.

 
 
 

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