“It proves you’re true hockey fans,” Bettman said to the group on the water, leading to chants of “Gary, Gary, Gary!”
It was clear that flexibility with the salary cap was one of Seattle’s biggest priorities in setting its first roster. Of the 30 players selected, Seattle committed only $54 million of a possible $81.5 million, not including a few restricted free who will push the number closer to $60 million should they stay agents.
The side deals and trades that Vegas fleeced the league with four years ago were absent this time around. Vegas announced 10 trades during its expansion draft; Seattle zero.
“Last time around (with Vegas), teams were paying a price to stay away from guys. This time, they weren’t willing to do that because GMs learned,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “What they were looking to do is get us to take bad money or bad contracts in order to leave somebody exposed and for us we think (cap space) was the most valuable thing asset we had right now, especially in potentially a flat cap environment. for a year or two.”
Defense was clearly a priority for Seattle, whether to build its own depth or for the opportunity to flip players for other options. A few seem locks to stay, like Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak, both unrestricted free agents who signed long-term deals with Seattle. Larsson got a $16 million, four-year deal and Oleksiak got $23 million over five years.
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