With the NHL trade deadline just weeks away (Monday, February 27), teams will be looking to strengthen their organizations, either for an imminent playoff run or for the future (which never ends if you're an Edmonton Oilers fan).
The salary cap limits the amount and types of deals general managers can make. Now, we often see teams adding a bad contract to a trade—such as Matthew Lombardi getting dealt along with featured asset Cody Franson from the Nashville Predators to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer—with the team taking on that contract perhaps giving up less in the trade than they normally would.
Trades are now made for pure salary cap flexibility, as was the case when the Carolina Hurricanes rid themselves of Tomas Kaberle by trading him for impending free agent-defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.
The landscape has changed, and NHL franchises have been forced to adapt to a new environment. Here are some quick facts about the salary cap:
- The current cap is set at $64.3 million.
- The maximum amount a single player can count towards his team's cap is $12.86 million.
- At this moment, the only team over the cap is the Vancouver Canucks, who are approximately $300,000 over. That situation should be rectified without any major moves.
- The team with the most cap space is the Nashville Predators, who have $14.6 million in free space. They also have the assets to deal for more than one established NHL player. Zach Parise, anyone?
- A team's cap space is multiplied by approximately 2.2 at the deadline. This is because, at the deadline, teams only have to pay the remaining amount on the player's contract. A full explanation can be found at www.capgeek.com. Theoretically, a team like the Predators could add over $30 million in salary at the deadline.
That was a quick primer on the NHL salary cap and the regulations teams have to live by in the modern hockey world. There will be more information and analysis coming as trades begin to happen.
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