Earlier Friday, news lit up the internet that the Pittsburgh Penguins had made a big trade to land center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators. The cost would be Pittsburgh’s 2018 first round pick, goalie uber-prospect Filip Gustavsson and defenseman Ian Cole, whom Ottawa would look to flip soon as well for additional prospects/picks.
Time ticked on and nothing official popped up from the Pens, Sens or the league, except to note that this transaction was going to be a tricky one to complete.
PIT-OTT deal involving Brassard is ultra-complicated, so much so that Brassard will likely first be traded to a team other than PIT. Then flipped to PIT. Hearing that third team is likely VGK. Potential for layers of salary retention.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 23, 2018
Then it was discovered the league wasn’t kosher with the trade as proposed.
However, all reputable sources are indicating that the teams are working to make the necessary tweaks in order to make the trade league-compliant.
Source involved in the deal says he's confident the deal will still get done...— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 23, 2018
Pensburgh has learned that the main issue the NHL had with this trade involves the reserve list and salary retention. It is believed that the way the deal was initially presented, the Vegas Golden Knights were agreeing to retain salary for Derick Brassard, a necessary step to keep the Pens under the upper limit of the salary cap.
The issue according to the league: Vegas can’t technically retain any of Brassard’s salary due to the fact that Brassard has never been a member of the Vegas organization. Makes sense on the surface, right?
What is a “reserve list” anyways? CapFriendly provides this definition:
An NHL team’s reserve list is comprised of any player who’s signing rights they hold. This includes unsigned draft choices, all players signed to a Standard Player Contract (SPC), and all players signed to an SPC while playing in a junior league.
Each club can have a maximum of 90 players on their reserve list.
We’ll see how the hurdle is overcome, but seemingly Brassard may have to be traded to Vegas for a day to make it onto their reserve list, then in theory it would be allowable for VGK to retain salary and send Brassard to his final destination of Pittsburgh.
With many industry observers believing this will be salvaged and the deal will go through as initially reported, there’s not much reason to panic for Pens fans. It will take a little more work by the parties to go through the dog and pony show that the NHL wants to see, but at the end of the day when it comes to complicated and tricky trades the saying “where there is a will, there is a way”. The teams seem to all be in agreement about the trade, now they simply just have to jump a few more hurdles to get all the books in line.
This is, of course, a very simplified overview of a very complex situation involving legal details and dozens of pages in the collective bargaining agreement. It’s not meant or intended to be any huge deep dive into the gory details. The bottom line is the Pens want to get Brassard and they are working to a way to complete the trade. We’ll see when or if it can be officially official but as of now things seem promising.