The NHL announced $6.2 billion in projected revenue for the 2024-25 season, and that means we can take a (very) early look at the upcoming salary cap situation for the Montreal Canadiens.
The salary cap is expected to rise to $87.7 million, which represents a year-to-year increase of $4.2 million.
Montreal Canadiens Salary Cap Situation
There are a handful of players with expiring contracts who are not expected to return next season, including Sean Monahan, Tanner Pearson, and Chris Wideman.
In addition, the Canadiens will have to offer new contracts to certain restricted free agents. Fortunately, players like Arber Xhekaj, Justin Barron, and Jesse Ylonen aren’t at the point in their careers where they can command large contracts. Given Kent Hughes has shown he’s quite adept at keeping salary cap hits reasonably low in most contract negotiations, we can safely assume he won’t break the bank on the the aforementioned players.
In this scenario, the Canadiens did not offer contract extensions to any unrestricted free agents, whereas some of the restricted free agents received very small raises.
We also placed Joshua Roy in the NHL, which means Michael Pezzetta was relegated to the AHL. If the Canadiens decide to keep Pezzetta in the lineup rather than give a prospect like Roy a shot in the NHL, the difference in cap hits will be negligible.
As a reminder, the purpose of this article is to establish how much cap space they’ll have going forward, not necessarily where the players will be slotted into the lineup. As long as the players in question are present, their salaries will be included in the equation. I currently have Joel Armia, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj as the extra skaters, but that can change.
Feel free to add your own lineup suggestions in the comments.
Here’s our early projected roster for the Canadiens in 2024-25, as well as the corresponding salary cap hits.
With the 23 players listed above, the Canadiens are committed to spending $74.4 million next season. That includes some money kept in reserve for bonuses and overages.
It also assumes Carey Price’s $10.5 million contract will be placed on the long-term injured reserve. On that note, don’t be surprised if the Canadiens manage to trade Price’s contract this summer. Once his bonus is paid on July 1, Price’s contract will be much easier to move in a trade, given that he’ll only be owed $4 million in salary and one more bonus payment of $5.5 million before his contract expires. A trade would give the team much more flexibility this summer.
With $74.4 million committed and the salary cap rising to $87.7 million, the Canadiens would have a little over $13.25 million in available salary cap space for the 2024-25 season.
That would give Hughes plenty of options in free agency in a year that has a few interesting players who are expected to become unrestricted free agents.
And for the most part, the Canadiens have no potential contract extensions on the books for 2025-26 that would require significant investments. Players like Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble and Juraj Slafkovsky will need new deals, but unless they take big steps forward next year, their new contracts should come with reasonable cap hits.
The only player who is slated for a big raise is Kaiden Guhle, and we can expect him to get paid somewhere in the $6 – $7 million range, if not a little more.
Fortunately, players like Jake Allen, David Savard, Jake Evans, Christian Dvorak, and Joel Armia become unrestricted free agents in 2025-26, which should mitigate much of the salary-cap impact of a Guhle contract extension.
Things can and will change. Slafkovsky could find his rhythm and command a big raise, but for now, thanks to the significant salary cap increase, the Montreal Canadiens are in a very healthy situation when it comes to their options for the next few years.
And those years happen to coincide with seasons that should yield better results from many of their young players.
All Montreal Canadiens salary cap information via Cap Friendly.