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Coyotes acquire Shea Weber's contract as never-ending rebuild rolls on

The Coyotes continue to be the NHL's top dumping ground for bad contracts and a premier destination for injured stars who will never actually play again.

Once again, Shea Weber’s contract is on the move. Using the Arizona Coyotes as the salary cap clearing house they’ve been for years, the Vegas Golden Knights opened up some important cap flexibility (especially for the future) with this trade.

Defenseman Dysin Mayo heads to Vegas as the most noteworthy active player involved in the swap, while the perpetually rebuilding Coyotes land a 2023 fifth-round pick along with Weber's contract.

Weber trade opens up salary cap flexibility for Golden Knights

As the Vegas Golden Knights keep taking wild swings at a Stanley Cup, they need contracts such as Weber’s to launder salary cap space. Ultimately, it’s still better to move those cap hits off your books, at least if you’re trying to make every salary cap dollar count.

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While Vegas may be in the mix during the upcoming trade deadline anyway, this move doesn’t free up significant salary cap space right now. Instead, it lightens their LTIR load in the offseason and a bit beyond.

Again, this doesn’t mean you should count out Vegas when it comes to raising the stakes at the deadline. You could say they’re addicted to such gambles.

It’s difficult to say if Mayo brings much to the table. The Coyotes drafted the 26-year-old with a fifth-round pick (133rd overall) back in 2014. While Mayo has 82 games of NHL experience spread over the past two seasons, he hasn’t scored a single point in 15 games in 2022-23. It’s also dangerous to read too much into anyone merely filling space on a team as lowly as the Coyotes.

That said, every now and then, the Golden Knights unearth a diamond in the rough. It’s most likely that this is a throw-in for a deal all about salary cap management, yet stranger things have happened.

For the time being, Mayo was assigned to the AHL.

Weber yet another part of the Coyotes forever rebuild

Look around social media, and you’ll see plenty of jokes about how inevitable it feels that the Coyotes absorbed the dead money contract of Shea Weber. This franchise has a long, not-so-proud history of taking these deals off of competitive teams’ hands. We’re not quite to the point of constructing a full roster of these big names, but maybe it’s only a matter of time?

Weber’s contract checks key boxes for the money-sunk Coyotes. While his salary cap hit is about $7.86 million, his actual salary is just $1M for three seasons (2023-24 through 2025-26). Pile on insurance, and the Coyotes will pay even less than that to fake their way closer to the salary cap floor.

They might even save a very minor amount of money by shaking loose from the marginal dollars owed to Mayo. If you really want to dive deep into those mundane details, Cap Friendly went to that trouble:

At some point, you’d hope that the Coyotes will actually try to win, spend some effort toward paying real hockey players, and (daring to dream) play in an NHL-appropriate arena. In the meantime, they continue their rebuild, make way to absorb other team’s salary cap problems, and hope that they win the Draft Lottery for Connor Bedard.

The ghost of Shea Weber is on the move again. (Getty)
The ghost of Shea Weber is on the move again. (Getty) (Getty Images)