Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes spoke at length after the NHL Trade Deadline about having a deal in place to move Shea Weber, and now we know why it fell through.
TSN Insider Darren Dreger came onto the airwaves of TSN 690 earlier this week to shed some light on what really held up the trading of Shea Weber’s contract.
“It does get a little bit more complicated as Kent Hughes alluded to in reference to Shea Weber because of insurance attachments,” said Dreger on why Shea Weber wasn’t moved prior to Trade Deadline. ” That’s really the reason Weber’s contract didn’t get moved to the Arizona Coyotes. Just because there was more paperwork that needed to be done and more money that needed to be paid out.”
Dreger went into detail pointing out that both Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens were ready to make a deal, but Arizona grew impatient and decided to go another route to acquire the contract of a player on career-ending Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) in the form of Bryan Little from Winnipeg.
“All parties felt very strongly that they were going to get something done (at Trade Deadline),” said Dreger on a Weber trade falling through prior to March 21. “It’s just insurance-related, and Kent Hughes kind of nibbled at it. They just needed more time and Arizona had other interests out there at the time and clearly moved on it.”
Dreger concluded his segment with the belief that it’s only a question of time before Weber’s contract is moved to Arizona, who has many contracts coming off the books this summer, or other interested teams who need the LTIR relief.
“It got to a place with Montreal and Arizona specifically where they just couldn’t close it off,” said Dreger. “I don’t think it’s certain, but it’s pretty likely they’ll revisit; if not Arizona, somebody else.”
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 30, 2022
Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes: Perfect Trade Partners
Trading Weber’s contract has been something that Hughes has openly discussed for over two months now. He claimed to have come very close to moving the contract at the NHL Trade Deadline, but that a last-minute change squashed the deal. Hughes doubled down on his desire to move Weber’s contract this summer, claiming that Weber’s playing days are over.
“I think it’s highly unlikely that Shea Weber is going to be physically capable of playing again,” said Kent Hughes during his press conference on April 30.
According to our friends at Puckpedia, Shea Weber’s contract has a Cap Hit of $7.857M for another four years after this 2021-2022 season but only has to be paid a total of six million in actual dollars during that span. That’s extremely attractive to a team like the Arizona Coyotes, whose new arena deal with Arizona State University will inhibit them from being able to spend much higher than 60M in player salaries for the foreseeable future.
The discrepancy between Weber’s Cap Hit and actual salary will allow the Arizona Coyotes ownership group to save millions on their payroll while their revenue potential remains low due to the limited attendance of their new home at Arizona State University. With Arizona set to be a bottom-feeder for the next couple of seasons, they will likely stay away from the unrestricted free agent market for a while, and acquiring high Cap Hits with low salaries is likely what gets them through the next couple of years until a new arena deal can be reached.
It would also give the Montreal Canadiens some breathing room under the Cap for next season, all while finally giving them the flexibility of being able to accrue Cap space throughout the season.