Because if Johnny wants to make sure Johnson signs with the team, you're probably looking at a 4 year deal, $7.50m per. That's a lot of money to invest on ONE player, especially considering you have to re-sign Zibanejad, Stone, Hoffman, Karlsson, Lindholm and Scrivens next summer. Plus, like I said, I'm not sold on Johnson as a first line center. He does have qualities, but he's a smallish kind of player, and a two-way forward (if Johnny didn't change that in his upgrade). My personal experiences with two-way first line center hasn't been the greatest in sim games, which is why I tend to believe that you may end-up with a very expensive Turris by signing Johnson. Meanwhile, Palat you may be able to sign for close to $2.5m cheaper, on a 1-year deal...and then restructure his contract the next summer. True, you have to give up a 1st (and maybe a 3rd) to get him. I just don't think Ottawa's pick value could get you someone like Palat on the trade market (and hey, if it is, then maybe that would be something to consider as well instead of shooting for the one available talented left wing on the RFA market), which is why I said I would be willing to pay that price personally. Say you stop right there, your lines would be... Schwartz - Turris - Stone Palat - Zibanejad - Burakovsky Abdelkader - Lazar - Dadonov Hoffman - Wingels - Condra ...with roughly $5.0m still under the cap. If you go for Johnson instead, you're looking at: Schwartz - Johnson - Stone Hoffman - Turris - Burakovsky Abdelkader - Zibanejad - Lazar Condra - Wingels - Dadonov ...with now about $2.5m of cap space. I like the first scenario better, as it seems to me it gives Johnny more flexibility looking forward, and more cap space to make his move / or use as a buffer for next year. Now if you go with scenario #1, you now have the cap space to sign a player like Soderberg/Stafford for your third line (not second), if you want to give yourself even more flexibility on the trade market. Say you go with Stafford, the cheaper of the two, for 3 years at $2.0m per. Now you're looking at: Schwartz - Turris - Stone Palat - Zibanejad - Burakovsky Abdelkader - Lazar - Stafford Hoffman - Wingels - Condra ...with roughly $3.0m of cap space. The acquisition of Stafford would, for now, mean that Dadonov is playing in the AHL for one more year. BUT ! Adding Stafford to the team also means you can now afford to trade Hoffman in a package, along with Stone, to get a legit first line right winger. Why these two ? First of all, their value should be high enough to get a pretty good piece in return, and both of them have to be re-sign next summer (Hoffman as a UFA, Stone as a RFA). If you deal them away, you're not only upgrading your first line right wing position, you're also saving yourself the headache of negociations that could very well lead to increased salaries. Stone is making $2.5m this season, Hoffman makes $2.75m. So you can go outhere and trade these two for a player of your liking, one that would be an even better fit than Stone to play with Turris and Schwartz, that commands a salary of $5.25m or less to offset the contracts...if you can find that player for cheaper (ie. younger player, still on entry level or bidge contract), you win even more. Lets say the contracts offset each others. You're now looking at: Schwartz - Turris - (Upgraded Winger via Trade) Palat - Zibanejad - Burakovsky Abdelkader - Lazar - Stafford Condra - Wingels - Dadonov ...with roughly the same $3.0m you had after the Stafford signing. Which is still more than what you would have if you went for Johnson instead of Palat. Or you can forget about Stafford altogether, if you think Dadonov is third line material this year, and save even more money. But say you did go with Stafford, you now have a better right winger on your first line than Stone (via trade). You also have Palat playing on the left wing of your second line instead of Hoffman (I see that as a considerable upgrade personally), you have Zibanejad playing on your second line (which is his role after all) instead of having to drop him on your third, and a very good depth player in Stafford to solidify your checking line, along with Abdelkader and Lazar...with still $3.0m left under the cap, and two less contracts to worry about next year. To me, it's worth spending a 1st and a potential 3rd for that. Plus, you can't do that by signing Johnson to that $7.5m deal. You're stuck with Hoffman on your second line, and don't have the money to bring in a guy like Stafford to play on your 3rd, therefor making it very hard to trade one of Turris or Zibanejad, along with Stone, for that 1st line right wing upgrade. This would force you to play Dadonov on the 3rd line, which he may not be ready for, and you would still be missing a 4th line forward, and a 6th defenseman, with barely any money to spend this year, and a very uncomfortable situation to deal with next year.