Skip to content

Speculating on next year’s potential salary cap

May 31, 2012, 8:15 PM EDT

Suter and Weber Getty Images

There’s been some debate on what the salary cap ceiling would be in the somewhat unlikely scenario that the new CBA won’t change the financial structure of the NHL. Bob McKenzie reports that the max would technically be $70.3 million based on league revenue if things went unchanged.

I used italics in the previous paragraph for a simple reason: whether it takes mere weeks or agonizing months, there will be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The salary cap is just about certainly here to stay, yet the specifics could be quite different.

Free agent head-scratching

Either way, it sets up an interesting series of questions for general managers. James Mirtle points out the fact that an ambitious GM could exceed that situational cap by as much as 10 percent this summer, yet that would make things awfully complicated if the cap ceiling drops.

(Hopefully the NHL wouldn’t hand some shocking penalty to that hypothetical team like the NFL did to the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys in that league’s bizarre “uncapped” year.)

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that increased revenues mean that the salary cap is as high as the NHL and its players association will allow. How high exactly it will go obviously remains to be seen – hopefully in time for the 2012-13 season to being.

Hypothetical fun

Throwing out those fun-killing “it could all change completely” for a second, Cap Geek breaks down how much cap space each team would have at this moment if the ceiling indeed goes to $70.3 million.

For the fun of it, here are the five teams with the lowest amounts of would-be space:

5. Buffalo Sabres: $11.76 million in cap space (based on 19-player roster)
4. Boston Bruins: $11.27M (18)
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: $10.73M (18)
2. Philadelphia Flyers: $9.08M (20)
1. Chicago Blackhawks: $8.81M (22)

Conversely, here are the five teams that would have the most space remaining:

1. Colorado Avalanche: $46.84M (9)
2. Nashville Predators:: $38.15M (12)
3. Phoenix Coyotes: $35.44M (17)
4. St. Louis Blues: $34.04M (16)
5. Winnipeg Jets: $33.43M (14)

Interesting stuff, eh? If the Blues’ budget inflated – it’s not expected to, from most indications – they could take an even bigger leap forward. Feel free to imagine all kinds of outrageous free agent spending sprees in the comments, even if the new CBA would likely make many of those scenarios largely imaginary.

Latest Posts
  1. Florida phases out ‘Lady Panthers’

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    They’ll feature a “skating-only” ice crew next season.

  2. Video: EA teases what’s new in NHL 15

    Jul 23, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    eanhl15screen

    Will their latest physics improvements make a big difference?

  3. Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    James Reimer, Mark Fraser, Steven Stamkos AP

    “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away.”

  4. Sakic says there was ‘never any animosity’ between Avs and O’Reilly

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic AP

    “Any of the perceived animosity came from the outside.”

  5. Jacques Martin is now Pittsburgh’s senior advisor of hockey operations

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Jacques Martin, Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Chris Kunitz AP

    His previously “yet-to-be-determined capacity” has been determined.

  6. Fayne looking forward to defending the ‘bigger guys’ in West

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    Mark Fayne, Mark Letestu AP

    “My style and build might be better against the bigger guys.”

  7. Ex-NHLer Paek to coach Korea, with goal of participating in 2018 Olympics

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings 2007 Headshots Getty Images

    Won a couple of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  8. Sabres sign d-man Benoit — one year, $800,000

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Had seven goals with 21 assists last year for the Avs.

  9. Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    The 23-year-old can now become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016.

  10. New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now)

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin, Victor Hedman AP

    Barry Trotz continues Adam Oates’ alteration, at least for now.

  11. Stars consider Roussel a ‘big part’ of their team

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Jaden Schwartz, Antoine Roussel AP

    They locked him up to a four-year deal on Tuesday.

  12. Report: NHL return possible for Peter Mueller

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Peter Mueller AP

    He spent last season playing in Switzerland.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1949)
  2. D. Roy (1573)
  3. L. Stempniak (1485)
  4. R. Nash (1478)
  5. M. Ribeiro (1387)
  1. D. Cleary (1337)
  2. B. Morrow (1243)
  3. B. Dubinsky (1232)
  4. V. Sobotka (1182)
  5. P. Subban (1181)