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Montreal Canadiens Now In Advantageous Salary Cap Situation



Montreal Canadiens

With the return of Mike Matheson, the Montreal Canadiens are in a rather advantageous situation from a salary cap perspective, especially as it pertains to their flexibility on the trade market.

Starting out the year with a few players on Injury Reserve (IR), such as Matheson and Joel Edmundson, the Canadiens cut it close to make their roster cap compliant; even having to temporarily send down Arber Xhekaj before placing Paul Byron on Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR)

With Edmundson and Mike Matheson healthy, the Canadiens will gain some much-needed relief on their cap structure, opening them up for more flexibility down the road.

When a player is placed on IR, they are removed from the active roster, meaning they don’t count toward the 23-man roster limit, but there’s a catch.

The player will count against the team’s salary cap during that time, so too will the player replacing them.

So, although the Canadiens had 23 active players on their roster, they actually started the season paying for 25 players (as Edmundson and Matheson were out long-term, but not on LTIR).

With Matheson’s return, the Canadiens had to send down Rem Pitlick, who is an Emergency Recall at the moment.

In doing so, they would bring their LTIR relief space up to just shy of $3.7M in cap space, and this, while Jonathan Drouin has just been placed on IR.

It may not seem like much, but the Canadiens have a couple of pending free agents and three salary retention slots general manager Kent Hughes has shown to want to use to improve the value of his trades.

With Byron not showing any signs of progress, it seems like a sure bet that the Canadiens will be able to count on this LTIR space leading up to the NHL trade deadline and could further monetize their LTIR relief space and four open contract slots to make similar deals to last spring.

There are a handful of teams that possess over $3M of permanent wiggle room on their salary cap structure at the moment, with many putting players set to return this season on LTIR for temporary relief, thereby delaying the inevitable moves they’ll need to make to be compliant.

Although the Montreal Canadiens cannot accrue cap space at the moment, having that kind of flexibility early on provides them with a noted advantage over their peers should a rival general manager come calling for some immediate reinforcements.


Canadiens Send Xhekaj To Laval To Maximize LTIR

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