Athletes Or Cap Hits?
You could forgive Ryan Parent for, as in the immortal words of Bob Seger, feelin' like a number.
Ostensibly, the former Guelph Storm defenceman was moved Tuesday in a four-player deal between Nashville and Vancouver not because the Canucks necessarily like him as a player, but because they like his salary cap number.
Specifically, the 23-year-old Parent's cap hit this season is $925,000. Shane O'Brien, the key player the Preds were getting in the deal, comes with a cap hit of $1.6 million.
The Preds can absorb the extra dollars easily under their budget, which falls well below the league-mandated salary cap of $59.4 million. The Canucks, meanwhile, need the $675,000 in cap relief represented by Parent, and had already ruled O'Brien out of their top six on D.
So Parent was an answer, or at least a partial one, to a mathematical problem the 'Nucks were facing.
Who knows? He might end up playing for them. Reports had him going immediately on waivers, but that might be in the same way the Leafs put Mike Zigomanis on waivers this week despite fully intending to use him as their fourth line centre for Thursday's home opener.
Teams up against the cap like Toronto and Vancouver have to always be mindful of maintaining enough roster and cap flexibility that if a goalie, for example, comes up sick on the day of a game, they can manoeuvre their roster quickly to bring up a netminder from the minors without exposing any players they want to keep to possible waiver claims.
That doesn't make it a whole bunch of laughs for the players involved, of course. For Parent, once a first round pick of Nashville, it has been a rocky, uneven ride through the NHL. He started with the Preds, was traded to Philly in the deal that sent Peter Forsberg to Music City, and was part of the Flyer defensive corps throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs until he was scratched near the end of the final against Chicago.
In June, he was traded back to Nashville for the rights to Dan Hamhuis. The Flyers wanted to sign Hamhuis before he hit unrestricted free agency, but couldn't, and he went on to sign with Vancouver.
Which is where Parent is now headed. Hard to feel wanted, methinks.