MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens currently find themselves in a tight situation concerning the salary cap, but help is on its way.
NHL teams will have almost $10 million in additional funds to work with over the next few years, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
According to Friedman’s report, the salary cap, which is currently set at $82.5 million, could rise all the way to $92 million by 2025-26, representing more than a 10 percent increase in just three years.
Every team will benefit from the increase, particularly contending teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs. It should alleviate the concerns tied to keeping their current competitive core in place.
For the Montreal Canadiens, who are closer to drafting first-overall this summer than competing for a playoff spot, the additional funds will certainly give general manager Kent Hughes more breathing room when it comes to trading bloated contracts.
It’s a poorly kept secret that players such as Mike Hoffman ($4.5 million AAV), Christian Dvorak ($4.45 million AAV), and Joel Armia ($3.5 million AAV) are being showcased as trade bait for teams looking to compete in the near future. The promise of a rising salary cap could go a long way in mitigating any worries from general managers that are a little gun-shy due to a lack of funds.
However, there’s also the matter of the length of the aforementioned contracts. Hoffman’s current contract expires in 2023-24, whereas Armia and Dvorak have agreements which run until 2024-25.
A rising salary cap doesn’t just make the length of these contracts a little easier to digest, it gives Hughes more leverage in negotiations, seeing as he can simply allow the deal to expire if there are no reasonable trades to be made. It’s not an ideal scenario, but it does allow for a more margin for error going forward.
Short term outlook
The biggest contract concern on the docket is that of up-and-coming sniper Cole Caufield, whose entry-level contract is set to expire next season. The additional funds will surely make negotiations a little easier, though even without the news that the cap is on the rise, the situation isn’t particularly complicated from an accounting point of view.
Sean Monahan, Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron, Evgeni Dadonov, and Jake Allen’s contracts are also set to expire, which amounts to over $20 million in salary cap alleviation next season.
More importantly, the increase will allow management a little more leeway when it comes to gauging the potential of the many exciting prospects on the cusp of earning an NHL job. It will also give them more options to insulate and protect their prospects, by means of acquiring veteran players to act as a stop-gap until the prospects are ready for the next big step in their careers.
(Contract information via CapFriendly)