The Montreal Canadiens were adamant last night about Jake Allen’s injury not being a factor in Carey Price’s return to the lineup, which is expected sometime this week. However, the Canadiens cannot fit Price under their Salary Cap at this time and reactivating from the NHLPA Player Assistance Program status will likely require some gymnastics from assistant general manager John Sedgwick.
According to our friends at Puckpedia, the Montreal Canadiens have been over the Salary Cap, currently set at $81.5M, thanks to the use of Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) space acquired by the unofficial retirement of Shea Weber and the season-long road to recovery of Carey Price. Both their Cap Hits combined gave the Canadiens the ability to go over the Cap by $18.357M. The Montreal Canadiens have used up $8.3M in player salary, which left them with $10M in Cap space left in their LTIR Relief Pool, but the problem is Carey Price’s Cap Hit is of $10.5M.
The issue was compounded a little further as Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki have unlocked performance bonuses in their entry-level contracts to the value of $572,500, further lowering Montreal’s Cap Space to $9.482M. Thus, just to get Price into the lineup, the Canadiens would either have to send down two players, like waiver-exempt Jesse Ylönen and Corey Schueneman, to make room or explore a ways to place one of their injured players on LTIR.
Jake Allen’s Injury Could Allow Carey Price To Return
With the gravity of Jake Allen’s injury still up in the air, the Montreal Canadiens could put a player like Allen on LTIR for the rest of the season, should it keep him out for the rest of the month. Such a move would give the Canadiens an extra $2.875M in Cap Space in the form of LTIR relief and allow for Carey Price‘s activation without having to send any players down to the Laval Rocket permanently.
It would be the easiest way around the Salary Cap at the moment for the Montreal Canadiens, but not their only option, as recent news has given the club another backdoor route to Cap compliancy.
Jonathan Drouin on LTIR?
Should Allen’s injury not be a long-term one, there is yet another option: Jonathan Drouin. On Saturday night, the Montreal Canadiens announced that Drouin underwent successful wrist surgery and would be out for the remainder of the season, but would be ready for next season’s Training Camp. Drouin carries a $5.5M contract that could be placed on LTIR as well, should the Canadiens have no other option.
For Carey Price to return, the team would have to place Drouin on LTIR, thereby staying giving themselves $5.5M in extra space. They would then be able to activate Price with the extra relief space and remain Cap compliant.
Montreal Canadiens Cap Gymnastics
It’s a complicated situation financially, which is why the Montreal Canadiens did well in promoting Sedgwick to AGM earlier this season, as he is well equipped to maneuver around in these very technical rules in the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Everything is relative in the Salary Cap world, and the gravity of the injury to Jake Allen could indeed have a direct effect on Price’s ability to play this week for the Montreal Canadiens, just not in the way that most would have initially thought.