NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL’s salary cap will likely only rise by $1 million next season, which bodes well for the Montreal Canadiens.
Earlier reports discussed the possibility of the salary cap rising by well over $1 million, especially since the league gave teams such as the Canadiens the option to desecrate their jerseys by adding ugly logos that stick out from their classic jersey like a sore thumb.
Gary Bettman says #NHL is now projecting a $70m remaining escrow balance at the end of the season, which would result in the salary cap rising just $1 million this summer to $83.5 million.
Not willing to say now whether a negotiation with #NHLPA for larger increase is possible.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 13, 2022
The league also introduced digital ads on boards, which have clearly become a deterrent to enjoying hockey games, as they are incredibly distracting and impossible to ignore.
Digital board ads malfunction pic.twitter.com/d5w0M1GJJa
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) October 13, 2022
Despite the slight increase, the Canadiens are in a great position to weaponize their upcoming salary cap space.
Seeing as players such as Sean Monahan ($6.375 million), Evgenii Dadonov ($5 million) Paul Byron ($3.4M), and Jonathan Drouin ($5.5 million) are in the last year of their contacts, Kent Hughes will have a significant amount of money to work with this summer.
Of course, Cole Caufield will absorb roughly half the available $20 million, leaving Hughes with a little over $12 million in freed-up cap space.
In addition, if the Canadiens can trade players such as Josh Anderson ($5.5 million), Mike Hoffman ($4.5 million), Joel Armia ($3.4 million), Christian Dvorak ($4.45 million), they’d improve their situation dramatically, opening up several options when it comes to helping other teams solve their salary cap issues.
For a price.
The Canadiens plan on being competitive sooner rather than later, but given how well reclamation projects such as the trade that brought a first-round pick to Montreal alongside Monahan have gone, the temptation to restock the pick cupboard may be too strong to ignore.
Realistically, the Canadiens will probably not be able to move the entirety of the nearly $19 million tied up with Armia, Anderson, Hoffman, and Dvorak.
But there’s a strong possibility someone such as Anderson, who has garnered a lot of interest in the trade market, could be moved from now to the deadline, which would lead to over $17 million in cap space with an $8 million extension for Caufield factored in.
If Carey Price remains on the long-term injured reserve, the Canadiens’ salary cap situation gets even better, as they’ll receive over $10 million in relief.
Things can, and likely will change, but the prospect of having over $20 million in salary cap space to work with is a perfect situation for Kent Hughes, given the vast majority of teams in the NHL have little to no space to work with, and will be seeking teams such as the Canadiens to help navigate the choppy waters of the NHL’s salary cap.
Salary Cap Information Via CapFriendly