Newly acquired defenceman Nicolas Beaudin will be looking to turn over a new leaf in the Montreal Canadiens organization, but some key details will be important for management to monitor before he gets a shot on the main club.
The Canadiens are currently right up against the salary cap and teetering on the edge of having to use waivers themselves to ice a 23-man roster. Consequently, it’s going to force general manager Kent Hughes to have to be very methodical about what he’s going to do with Beaudin moving forward, given certain details regarding his contract and waiver status.
Before pencilling Beaudin in the NHL right away, here are some details to consider:
Beaudin is waiver eligible, meaning that he must go through waivers moving forward in his career if a club wants to send him down to the AHL. Beaudin found his name on waivers for the first time in his career a month ago, when the Chicago Blackhawks placed him on waivers, where he went unclaimed.
By going unclaimed and being traded to the Canadiens, general manager Kent Hughes could recall the player at will without having to put him back on waivers, until he plays a cumulative 10 games with the big club or 30 days on the main roster. It offers the Canadiens some limited flexibility with Beaudin, allowing them to call him up in case of emergencies and insert him at will, as long as he doesn’t bust the given thresholds.
Should Beaudin pass any of the two thresholds, he would have to be placed on waivers yet again for him to head to the Laval Rocket.
Performance Bonus Crunch
Nicolas Beaudin is in the last year of his entry-level contract, with a current cap hit of $863,334, according to Puckpedia. He can also earn up to $425,000 in potential performance bonuses, which hinder his ability to play in the NHL as long as Juraj Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris are still on the big club. If a player with performance bonuses is added to a roster that doesn’t have the necessary performance bonus space on the books, that player’s performance bonuses will be included in the calculation of their cap hit.
Because the Montreal Canadiens are using LTIR at the moment to be cap compliant, it means that they need to have the necessary performance bonus pool in order to include another play with potential performance bonuses on the team. This means that, if the Canadiens want to recall Beaudin right now, his cap hit would be around 1.1M, rather than his projected $863.334 cap hit.
The amount of the Canadiens’ performance bonus pool was determined at the start of the year, when Slafkovsky, Guhle, Harris and Cole Caufield all made the starting roster, giving them over $4.6M in performance bonus space. For the Canadiens to add Beaudin to their roster without being his performance bonuses counting against the cap, the Canadiens would need to send down one of Slafkovsky or Harris.
It’s also a slight insurance policy for the Canadiens, as, if they ever do call up Beaudin and he eventually has to be subject to waivers again; his performance bonus may ward off potential poachers; given 1/3 the league is using LTIR.
To give you another example of such a situation, let’s go back to April 2021, when Cole Caufield joined the Canadiens at the tail-end of the season. Because the Montreal Canadiens didn’t have a performance bonus cushion, Caufield’s cap hit rose from $880,000 to $1.3M; which is his maximum cap hit (salary + performance bonuses). If the Canadiens had had some performance bonus room, Caufield would only have counted for $880,883 against the cap and would have been able to be inserted in the roster much sooner than the final 10 games of the season (remember how long the Canadiens had to wait?).
Something to keep in mind is that because the #Habs are currently in LTIR, Caufield's cap hit is actually $1,308,333, and not $880,833.
This is because there is no longer a bonus cushion in LTIR resulting in the performance bonuses being included as part of the cap hit.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) April 16, 2021