The Montreal Canadiens sent down Arber Xhekaj to the Laval Rocket before the 5 pm deadline to maximize their cap space, or, better yet, their LTIR relief space.
After having been told he had made the team, Xhekaj now finds himself with the Laval Rocket, on paper. The club is in the midst of maximizing every single penny of cap space, but, similarly to the last couple of years, they’ll be doing so by using Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR).
The Montreal Canadiens are currently over the salary cap by $11.1M with a 23-man roster. They used Carey Price‘s full 10.5M cap hit on LTIR in order to allow them to go over the offseason salary cap, but they need to be compliant by the 5 pm deadline.
By sending down Arber Xhekaj’s $828,000 cap hit for the day (in what is called a paper transaction), the Canadiens were able to drop their total cap hit to $92.7M, leaving them roughly $300,000 in LTIR relief space before 5 pm.
The Canadiens will then be able to put Byron on LTIR after that point, thereby adding his full $3.4M to their LTIR relief pool, and then being able to call up Xhekaj immediately after as if nothing ever happened. What this does, is it maximizes the relief they get from Byron’s contract, a difference of about $830,000 in space, which will be extremely valuable to them if Byron doesn’t return this season from his hip injury.
That extra space could become extremely valuable for the purposes of trades, especially as the Canadiens get closer to the trade deadline, as they’ll look to weaponize any little bit of money they have in order to get the most out of every deal this season.
Arber Xhekaj is expected to be part of the roster that awaits the Toronto Maple Leafs for their season opener at the Bell Centre on October 12