Ladies and gentlemen, start your cap calculators!
The NHL and the NHLPA announced on Tuesday that the salary cap for the 2015-16 season will be $71.4 million, with an adjusted midpoint of $62.1 million and a lower limit (a.k.a. cap floor) of $52.8 million.
The cap is right around where Gary Bettman had projected it to be a few months ago. Earlier this month, he expressed some doubt that the NHL would get the cap up over $71 million due to negotiation with the Players’ Association.
“We obviously have to have a discussion with the players’ association as we’ve said all along,” Bettman said before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “If we use the full five percent (escalator), our preliminary calculations is we’ll be somewhere over $71-(million). But the cap is somewhere in the $70-71-(million) range we believe.”
At the moment, there are three teams within $5 million of the new cap ceiling: The Philadelphia Flyers ($69.4 million), Tampa Bay Lightning ($67.89 million) and Montreal Canadiens ($66.48 million). Keep in mind that’s without a long-term injured reserve exceptions, like for example if one team had a star defenseman that won’t play again and is actually working for the NHL at the moment.
There are nine teams that are currently under the floor, which is obviously a byproduct of pending unrestricted free agency. The Arizona Coyotes are currently at $34.194 million in total cap contracts, with just 10 skaters and one goalie signed. So if you're a UFA that likes sun, golf and a constant state of looming relocation, call Don Maloney! He's got money to burn!
So go forth, Chicago Blackhawks fans, and see how much salary cap space your team will actually have to retain the roster. Whither Patrick Sharp?