Can the Cats get Gabriel Landeskog?

Written by WJWhite30

Imagine this man rocket in Panthers red

Reports came out yesterday saying that Colorado and their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, are nowhere even remotely close in the contract negotiations. Landy is coming off of a 7 year, $39-million contract that paid him $5.57 per year. For a player of his caliber, that is an incredible deal.

Landeskog is an elite forward in the NHL, so of course it would be a no-brainer to pursue him if you are any team in the league. The 6’1” Swede does not play your usual European finesse style of hockey and likes to throw around his 215 lb. frame.

The 2011 Calder Trophy winner has played in 687 games scoring 218 goals and putting up 294 assists. In last year’s shortened season, Landy led all pending UFA players with 52 points (20 G & 32A) in 54 games. While his career numbers are not overwhelming, everyone forgets how bad the Colorado teams were just a few years ago. If Colorado wants to keep their window open, they need to sign Landy.

But this is not a Colorado fan page, and I am not here to pump Landeskog’s tires. Instead, I want to see what the Panthers could do to realistically bring in a player of this caliber.

As discussed, the defensive zone and keeping pucks out of their net was a huge problem for the Cats. Landy is a great two-way player, much like Barkov, and is a force to be reckoned with in the offensive and defensive zones. Imagine having Barkov and Landy on the ice at the same time? That is a coaches wet dream!

When looking at the defensemen this team has, two of the three highest paid blue liners were more than underwhelming last season. Yandle makes $6.35/year for the next two seasons and Stralman is signed for 1 more year at $5.5 million.

If the Panthers can resign Montour and Forsling, I think they would be in good shape and in a better situation than they would be with Yands and Stralman on the backend. But the question remains, what type of contract are those two looking for?

If the Panthers were to buyout Anton Stralman, it would have a salary cap hit of $2.5 million this season and $1.5 million in the 2022-23 season. This would give a savings of approximately half and give you room which you could easily get either Montour or Forsling on a $2.5-3 million AAV type ticket. Even if it is just a bridge deal until the buyout comes off the books.

The problem is that if the Panthers were to buyout Yandle, the savings would not be as significant. For the Cats to buyout Yands, the cap hit would be as follows:

  • 2021-2022 – $2,341,667
  • 2022-20223 – $5,391.667
  • 2023-2024 – $1,241,667
  • 2024-2025 – $1,241,667

This is a tough call because the cap hit in 2022-23 is almost as bad as his salary. For that season, you would have the cost of a top 4 d-man sitting on the books without any type of player to show for it.

Other notable free agents the Panthers need to sign this offseason include Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Alex Wennberg, Lucas Wallmark, Juho Lammikko, and Nikita Gusev.

The good news is that the Cats have a projected $13.13 million in cap space available for the resigning of these guys. Of the players listed above, the only ones who I would say are critical to keep in Florida are Forsling, Bennett, Duclair, and Montour. And I would even be ok losing Duclair if it meant bringing in a player of Landy’s caliber.

The biggest question is what type of contract is Landeskog looking for? I would put him above a player like Kevin Hayes who signed a contract of 7 years at $50-million. While that was probably the overpayment of the century, it did set the bar for what these guys will be asking for. Would he want more than Hayes’ $7.14/year contract? That would be tough for the Panthers to swing without buying out someone and letting a few other talented guys walk.

The Panthers cannot offer the “come here to win” type promise that teams will be offering players on bad teams, like Buffalo, because Colorado is the Stanley Cup favorite as of today. But what the Panthers do have is a home without a state income tax. Remember what Steven Stamkos said about taking less money to stay in Tampa? Making $8.5 million in Tampa is better than making $11 million in Toronto. While Colorado does not have the same tax levels as Canada, it is still higher than Florida’s 0% state income tax.

In summary, I think it would be a dream come true to see a line with Barkov and Landeskog; however, I think Joe Sakic is one of the smartest men in hockey and knows that to win a Cup, he needs Landy to stay in Denver. But in the words of Loyd Christmas, “so you are telling me there’s a chance?”.

PS: just for fun, I looked up what it would be to buyout Bobrovsky and here is how it breaks down in terms of a cap hit:

  • 2021-22 – $5.8-million
  • 2022-23 – $5.8-million
  • 2023-24 – $6.8-million
  • 2024-25 – $6.8-million
  • 2025-26 – $6.8-million
  • 2026-31 – $1.8-million

That is a very tough pill to swallow, no matter how bad Boobtitsky plays.

The best bet is to find the 3-way trade deal where the Panthers trade Bob to a 2nd team while retaining half of his salary. Team 2 will trade Bobrovsky while retaining half of their portion of his salary (so 25% of his total contract). The 3rd team will then buyout Bobrovsky and once he is bought out, all three teams would be significantly relieved of the contract. This would result in a cap hit of $900k for the Panthers versus the $5.8 million+ mentioned above. This is just the cliff notes version and I would be happy to breakdown the whole process if someone is interest. But in the meantime, let’s see how creative Zito can get!

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