Reader Jonathan Z. sent me an e-mail earlier this week spelling out why he thought Taylor Chorney should be cut instead of Christian Djoos or Aaron Ness. I agree with him. Here’s Jonathan in his own words:
The Capitals’ roster is down to eight defensemen, with one more cut expected before opening night. Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson and Brook Orpik are locks. Madison Bowey is expected to make the team because he’s the only right-handed shot besides Niskanen and Carlson.
That means the Capitals need to cut Christian Djoos, Aaron Ness or Taylor Chorney.
Everyone seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that Chorney will make the roster, but sending Chorney to Hershey while keeping Djoos and Ness makes sense for a few reasons, especially because Chorney has the biggest cap hit of these three players.
Cutting Chorney instead of Ness or Djoos would accomplish three goals for the Capitals:
(1) Avoid losing Djoos, a young player with talent, to a waiver claim. Djoos, Ness and Chorney all would need to pass through waivers to go to Hershey, but Djoos, 23, is much more likely to be claimed than Ness, 27, or Chorney, 30.
(2) Provide the flexibility to sign Alex Chiasson for slightly more than the league minimum, which gives the team a better shot at keeping a proven but still young bottom-six forward.
(3) Allow the team to start the season with 14 forwards and 7 D instead of 13 and 7, which would give them more time to evaluate the depth forwards.
All of this is because Chorney’s cap hit is $800K, which is $150K over the league minimum salary. That money is significant for the Caps. According to CapFriendly, the team is about $39,000 over the salary cap right now. That’s with eight defensemen and Chandler Stephenson ($650K cap hit) on the roster as the 13th forward, but without Tyler Graovac ($625K) or Chiasson (PTO). If the Caps cut Stephenson and either Djoos ($650K) or Ness ($613K), they would have a little bit less than $1.3 million in cap space. That’s enough for Graovac or Chiasson, but not both. If they cut Stephenson and Chorney, they would have a little more than $1.4 million in cap space, which is enough to add both of the forwards, even if Chiasson signs for $750K.
If Chorney clears waivers and the Capitals want to use him down the road, all they would need to do is send down the 14th forward, which should be easier once we have a better sense of what Walker, Smith-Pelly, Graovac and Chiasson can contribute.
Brian MacLellan was pretty shortsighted this summer. Giving up roster flexibility and risking a potential sleeper in Djoos, just to keep a replacement level player like Chorney, would be pretty short-sighted, too.
Headline image: Jamie Squire
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