Why Should He Go? Mike Cammalleri is a depreciating asset, no questions about it. He’s 34 years old carrying a $5MM cap hit. Although his age and contact situation decrease his contract’s mobility, he’s been able to produce 10 goals for 30 points in just 48 games this season so far. Unfortunately, the winger has developed a fragile reputation in his later years and the Devils should look to deal him while he has some value. In addition, I posit that the Devils would be unwise to protect Cammalleri in the upcoming expansion draft and instead should seek any return for an asset who could be lost with no reimbursement after season’s end. *Edit: Cammalleri has a No Trade Clause. He would have to waive this right to be moved at the deadline.
What is His Value?
Once again, I used the Similarity Calculator on corsica.hockey to find similar assets on which we can base our estimations. Of all these players on the list, only Cory Stillman, Matt Cooke, and David Perron were traded in season. Stillman was 34 nine years ago when the trade took place and Cooke was 30 eight years ago when his deal was made. Both instances were made before the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season when a new CBA was signed that brought about notable changes to the league such as the realignment and different salary cap numbers. The point is, a reasonable comparison cannot be made between the 2016-17 asset that is Mike Cammalleri and the seemingly-ancient assets from yesteryear that were Cooke and Stillman. Fortunately, a much better comparison is available in David Perron who is 95.22% similar to Cammalleri, traded in this comparison year, and of a recent era.
In July 2013,Perronwas traded by the St Louis Blues to the Edmonton Oilers for the then 21 year-old LWMagnus Paajarviand a 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft.Paajarvihas since appeared in 279 NHL games while scoring 81 points, however he has only played 3 NHL games this season and has been playing in the AHL since October. Essentially, the blues received a fringe-NHL player and a second round pick for an asset 95% similar toMike Cammalleri.A key difference between the two is their contract and age situation.Perronwas 24 and carried a cap hit of slightly over $3.8MM andCammalleriis 35 years old and carries a cap hit of $5MM. Since the two seasons have drastically different contextual settings and the players have varying cap/age situations it would be irrational to expect the same outcome forCammalleri, but we may be able to use this comparison as a reasonable benchmark. I would not be surprised if New Jersey was able to fetch a third-round pick from a contender, especially given thatVern Fiddler just brought back a 4th. *EDIT: a reader just raised the intriguing idea of retaining a portion of Cammalleri's salary to sweeten the deal for a potential trade partner. This makes the most sense for the Devils as we are closer to the Cap Floor than the Cap Limit by a wide margin. Retaining salary is an efficient way of translating our cap space into a tangible asset.
*please note, I adjusted the weighting system used by the Similarity Calculator to emphasize Goal Scoring Rates more than their default weighting (originally .3, changed to .8). Mike Cammalleri is known for his goal scoring and therefore I wanted to emphasize this. No trade partner would acquire Cammalleri for any other major reason other than depth scoring.
*All data from corsica.hockey.com, nhl.com, capfriendly.com, and wikipedia.com