NHL Salary Cap Game: Greg Challenges You!

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer IJuly 9, 2008

Well the summer is long underway—and with no hockey, it’s a tough time for us die-hard fans. We love to dream up scenarios and play games to kill time, so I have one for you.

The Challenge: Build an NHL team consisting of twelve forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders.

The Rules: You need twenty players, so you must use players from twenty of the thirty NHL teams, which means you can’t have two players from the same team. But the players you choose still need to fit under the $56.7 million salary cap. (The amount must be the player’s salary in '08-09). Please go to http://nhlnumbers.com for each team’s complete list of player salaries.

My Roster



Evgeni Malkin; Pittsburgh Penguins ($.984 million)

Jonathon Toews; Chicago Blackhawks ($.850 million)

Jason Arnottl; Nashville Predators ($4.5 million)

Brandon Dubinsky; New York Rangers ($.635 million)

Total: $6.97 million

Right Wingers

Brian Rolston; New Jersey Devils ($5.25 million)

Jason Pominville; Buffalo Sabres ($1.37 million)

Mike Knuble; Philadelphia Flyers ($2.8 million)

Guillaume Latendresse; Montreal Canadiens ($.850 million)

Total: $10.27 million

Left Wingers

Alex Ovechkin; Washington Capitals ($9 million)

Henrik Zetterberg; Detroit Red Wings ($2.9 million)

Trent Hunter; New York Islanders ($2 million)

Alexei Ponikarovsky; Toronto Maple Leafs ($2.24 million)

Total: $16.14 million


Dion Phaneuf; Calgary Flames ($7 million)

Jason Smith; Ottawa Senators ($2.6 million)

Fedor Tyutin; Columbus Blue Jackets ($2.25 million)

Francois Beauchemin; Anaheim Ducks ($1.65 million)

Erik Johnson; St. Louis Blues ($.850 million)

Paul Ranger; Tampa Bay Lightning ($.950 million)

Total: $15.3 million


Evgeni Nabokov; San Jose Sharks ($5.50 million)

Josh Harding; Minnesota Wild ($.750 million)

Total: $6.25 million

Total Team Salary: $54.93 million

My Line Combinations

Line 1: Ovechkin-Malkin-Rolston

Line 2: Pominville-Toews-Zetterberg

Line 3: Knuble-Arnott-Hunter

Line 4: Hall-Dubinsky-Ponikarovsky

Defense 1: Phaneuf-Johnson

Defense 2: Smith-Beauchemin

Defense 3: Tyutin-Ranger

Goalie 1: Nabokov

Goalie 2: Harding

Lineup Analysis


What a bang for the buck with this lineup. It has a solid mix of youth and experience, is very speedy at that, and even leaves more then a million left over.

The first line consists of the two best superstars in the league, Ovechkin and Malkin, combined with an older, more defensive-minded Brian Rolston. The reason this line works is because all three can skate, pass, and score, and even take on some defensive responsibility as well.

The second line again is solid with scoring and playmaking ability. The young Toews combined with the best defensive forward in the league in Zetterberg and the speedy Jason Pominville will add depth as the second line.

This third line may be the one I’m most proud of, because not only can they score, but they’re all North American and they can all check and grind away. To me, it would be the perfect shadow line to go up against the opposing team’s top line.

The fourth line is the team youngest and feistiest. The winger Adam Hall is a solid checker who can score and plays very economically. Dubinsky is a good power forward who is also beginning to fight more. Add to that the dangerous Ponikarovsky, and this line can do a bit of everything.

This defensive corps is once again very solid and can do most anything. Is has the fighting it needs from Phaneuf and Smith, a youthful offense with Phaneuf, Johnson, and Ranger. Add to that the very solid and hard-hitting Fedor Tyutin and Francois Beauchemin, and it’s a very solid core of six.

Final Word

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a chance to one day become the general manager of a hockey franchise? I know for myself and many others it would be a dream come true.

But for most of us, it will not become a reality, so we have to play around for fun. This is a difficult challenge I’m proposing to you because not only can you not use two players from the same team, but you have to fit under the 2008-09 Salary Cap.

It’s a difficult challenge and may seem intimidating (heck, it took me almost an hour of research), but it’s a lot of fun and well worth the time.

So please, take some time throughout the day and play around with some numbers. The only reason I published this so early is because I know it may take people some time.

When you post your response, please post your lineup (players, team abbreviation, and salary included) in a comment, or if you choose to post it on your profile bio, please provide a link to it. Also, your responses don’t have to come with an analysis, unless you want to put one.

I hope this will turn out to be a success, because I know I had a lot of fun with it—but maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with this great sport.


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