Connect with us

Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens Salary Cap Situation May Force Moves This Summer



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Current Salary Cap Situation

As it stands, the Canadiens have 35 players signed for the 2023-24 season, accounting for $73 million of the cap hit.

The salary cap is going up next year, though not enough to offer much wiggle room for teams that are having a hard time juggling their financial commitments.

Once we remove the $73 million already accounted for from the $83.5 million salary cap, the Canadiens are left with a little over $10.5 million to work with.

However, there are a few other issues that will lower that number.

First off, Karl Alzner’s buyout is still on the books and will cost the team $833,000 in cap space. Thankfully for Kent Hughes and Co., 2023-24 will be the last season in which the Canadiens will have to pay for the contract that was signed in 2017 and bought out in 2020.

The team will also have to dip into their reserves to pay out $1.17 million in performance bonus overages.

With the Alzner buyout and the bonuses, the Canadiens are left with $8.5 million in available cap space.

But don’t panic just yet.

Unless Carey Price returns to the team, which is incredibly unlikely at this point, the Canadiens will end up with $10.5 million in salary relief due to his contract being put on the long-term injured reserve.

If Price is placed on the LTIR, the Canadiens would have $19 million in available space.

Big Names

Cole Caufield needs a new contract, and considering he’s one of the best 5v5 goal-scorers in the NHL, it’s expected to be a very rich deal.

You can click here to read an in-depth breakdown, but given the comparable deals in place around the league, Caufield’s contract should fall within the $7-$8 million annual average value range.

Canadiens comparables Caufield 2

via CapFriendly

There’s also the matter of re-signing Rafael Harvey-Pinard, who emerged as a player that could make a significant impact in the NHL.

Unfortunately for Harvey-Pinard, despite his 14 goals in just 34 games last season, he’s yet to build up the type of track record that would warrant an expensive deal.

We can project the deal to land somewhere between $1.5 million – $2 million per season range.

Brass Tacks

If Caufield and Harvey-Pinard sign in the aforementioned range, the Canadiens will be left with roughly $9 million to $10.5 million in available cap space with 37 players signed to a contract.

There’s also the matter of the other expiring contracts. Players like Alex Belzile, Denis Gurianov, Michael Pezzetta, Jesse Ylonen Joel Teasdale, and Anthony Richard need deals, though you’d be hard-pressed to argue the Canadiens should make their contracts a priority. For the most part, they’re auxiliary players.

Assuming the Canadiens re-sign Belzile and Ylonen to reasonable deals, they’ll have to commit almost $2 million of the remaining funds, leaving them with somewhere between $7 million and $9.5 million in available cap space with 39 players signed to standard player contracts.

It’s a much tighter situation than previously anticipated, but it does give the team enough cap space to perhaps acquire an expensive, expiring contract, as they did when they were paid a first-round pick by the Calgary Flames to put Sean Monahan’s deal on the books.

If the team needs to alleviate precious cap space, they can, and should look into buying out Joel Armia’s contract.

They would save over $3.36 million in cap space next season, as well as $2.36 million the following year. Armia’s buyout would then cost them $1.43 million for the next two seasons.

Things can and probably will change, but an Armia buyout would push their available cap space to somewhere between $10 and $13 million, which should be enough leeway to allow Canadiens management to work out deals without being handcuffed by a lack of available funds.

All salary cap information via CapFriendly.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Trade Armia and Hoffman for smaller bad contracts. And then try to deal those bad contracts if possible.


What about expiring contracts for Drouin, Gurianov and Byron? Are these already included? That is over $10M.

Marco D'Amico

Yes, they are.


According to CapFriendly, Habs have $8.5M in cap space for next season right now. Add Price to that and its $19M. Subtract CC from that, and its about $11.5M. I see an Armia buyout coming, so that saves another mil or two. That’s enough to sign a few players from within. Probably don’t need any FAs, mostly because there won’t be a decent amount of Cap hit left to sign anyone noteworthy…

Curtis Ault

I’m going to throw this out there, and I may be completely wrong and would have no issue with someone pointing out the error in my logic, but if Armia’s buyout looks appealing for the next 2 seasons, would not a trade for a late round draft pick or future considerations, and a contract, not look interesting to another team?

MHN 2023 NHL Draft

MHN in your inbox

Enter your email address and get all of our articles sent directly to your inbox

MHN on Facebook