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Daoust provides a comprehensive breakdown of all 30 NHL clubs and their cap situations.


For most keeper leagues the offseason begins as soon as the NHL regular season ends and lasts more than five months. During this time poolies will do a lot of maintenance on their teams to get ready for the next campaign. In fantasy leagues that use NHL salary cap figures the landscape changes in July when a slew of players sign new contracts.


This summer is going to be different. The NHL has a new collective bargaining agreement which means new rules and a lowered salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million for 2013-14. Most of the existing NHL contracts were signed under the old CBA which had a constantly-rising cap ceiling that peaked at $70.2 million in 2012-13. The transition from the old system to the new one will force some players to make financial sacrifices, at least for the first couple of years of the new CBA until the cap rises again to where it used to be.


The table below with numbers obtained using Capgeek shows where things stand today with regards to each team’s salary cap situation for next year. This includes players who should be locks to make their respective squads. It does not remove players who will likely be placed on long-term injured reserve nor does it account for cheap players within the system who could receive a promotion just to help the team adhere to the cap ceiling.


Team 2013 Cap Space Plyrs Signed Cap Space $/Opening Key RFA Key UFA
Anaheim Ducks $13,268,939 18 $9,384,167 $1,876,833 Palmieri, Beleskey Selanne, Koivu, Lydman
Boston Bruins $5,713,438 17 $6,657,857 $1,109,643 Rask, Caron Jagr, Horton, Ference, Redden, Khudobin
Buffalo Sabres $8,762,977 15 $17,392,143 $2,174,018 Hodgson, Flynn, Weber, Enroth Pardy, Hecht, Sulzer
Calgary Flames $9,172,010 18 $19,171,667 $3,834,333 Butler, Brodie, Backlund McGrattan, Babchuk
Carolina Hurricanes $12,962,946 16 $8,197,500 $1,171,071 Dalpe Corvo, Larose, Bergeron, Ellis, Brent
Chicago Blackhawks $2,856,456 17 $4,826,538 $804,423 Leddy, Kruger Handzus, Emery, Stalberg, Bickell
Colorado Avalanche $14,558,535 21 $11,851,667 $5,925,834 Hejduk
Columbus Blue Jackets $16,306,753 16 $19,393,691 $2,770,527 Anisimov, Bobrovsky Prospal, Aucoin, Leighton, Comeau
Dallas Stars $16,232,871 17 $19,651,389 $3,275,232 Wandell, Bachman Nystrom
Detroit Red Wings $7,376,968 17 $13,362,121 $2,227,020 Kindl, Nyquist, Smith Filppula, Cleary, White, Brunner
Edmonton Oilers $16,551,029 17 $16,460,833 $2,743,472 Gagner, Paajarvi, Peckham Whitney, Khabibulin, Jones, Fistric
Florida Panthers $12,736,914 17 $19,339,625 $3,223,271 Mueller, Markstrom, Matthias, Skille Weiss, Theodore, Strachan
Los Angeles Kings $8,174,201 12 $15,577,273 $1,416,116 Bernier, Clifford, Voynov, Martinez, Lewis Regehr, Scuderi, Penner, Richardson
Minnesota Wild $79,256 17 $9,112,799 $1,518,800 Clutterbuck, Scandella, Falk Backstrom, Bouchard, Cullen
Montreal Canadiens $3,342,280 19 $6,281,667 $1,570,417 Weber, White Ryder, Armstrong, Halpern
Nashville Predators $16,476,797 15 $18,192,857 $2,274,107 Spaling, Josi, Halischuk, Blum Mason, Yip
New Jersey Devils $10,930,590 14 $26,187,500 $2,909,722 D'Agostini, Josefson, Henrique, Loktionov Elias, Zidlicky, Zubrus, Clarkson, Sullivan, Ponikarovsky
New York Islanders $17,195,892 13 $30,325,167 $3,032,517 Bailey, Poulin, Ullstrom, Hamonic, Hickey Thomas, Streit, Nabokov, Reasoner, Boyes
New York Rangers $1,488,779 17 $14,155,833 $2,359,306 McDonagh, Sauer, Hagelin, Stepan, Zuccarello Clowe, Eminger
Ottawa Senators $16,393,628 17 $23,262,500 $3,877,083 Wiercioch, Condra Gonchar, Alfredsson, Latendresse, Lundin
Philadelphia Flyers $0 20 $681,905 $227,302 Gustafsson, Wellwood Gagne, Fedotenko, Foster
Phoenix Coyotes $20,761,368 12 $24,650,000 $2,240,909 Korpikoski, Boedker, Stone, Rundblad Smith, Gordon, Labarbera, Chipchura
Pittsburgh Penguins $3,460,867 17 $8,501,667 $1,416,945 Kennedy Iginla, Morrow, Murray, Cooke, Dupuis, Adams
San Jose Sharks $3,829,004 14 $9,573,333 $1,063,704 Demers, Galiardi, Desjardins Torres, Hannan, Gomez, Greiss
St. Louis Blues $18,014,639 14 $26,061,667 $2,895,741 Pietrangelo, Stewart, Berglund, Shattenkirk, Cole, Russell McDonald, Leopold, Langenbrunner, Nichol
Tampa Bay Lightning $6,143,586 17 $3,332,250 $555,375 Pouliot Garon
Toronto Maple Leafs $6,950,778 12 $19,495,833 $1,772,348 Kadri, Gunnarsson, Komarov, Franson, McLaren, Fraser O'Byrne, Bozak, Orr, Kostka
Vancouver Canucks $0 15 $1,396,667 $174,583 Schroeder, Tanev, Weise Roy, Raymond, Alberts, Lapierre, Barker
Washington Capitals $6,146,302 19 $6,265,705 $1,566,426 Alzner, Johansson Ribeiro, Poti, Hendricks, Wolski
Winnipeg Jets $11,752,059 10 $29,955,833 $2,304,295 Wheeler, Bogosian, Little, Burmistrov, Tangradi, Postma Hainsey, Antropov, Wellwood, Miettinen, Clitsome
Total 210 $438,699,654 $2,089,046


Here we see that there are some teams who are already up against the cap ceiling while others have as much as a dozen open roster spaces. There are also some high-profile free agents including restricted free agents such as Tuukka Rask, Nick Leddy, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Alex Pietrangelo and Karl Alzner who could force their teams to make other moves in order to retain their services.


Also included is each team’s final number for remaining cap space in 2012-13. This is simply to show that many teams are nowhere near the cap ceiling. This could be for a number of reasons including a rebuilding roster such as Calgary or a lower market team like Phoenix or Anaheim that operate under their own internal budget.


Each team has two amnesty buyouts which can be used either this summer or next. These buyouts see the player get paid his fee but the transaction does not count towards the salary cap. They will certainly help add dollars to the available pool of money for free agents but the effect will likely be less significant than many people think.



Since the amnesty buyout sees the player get paid in cash, it is not something that will benefit teams that have an internal budget. Those teams are more concerned with player payroll than they are with cap figures and buying out a player simply becomes dead money from their point of view. Thus, it is very possible that many teams will not use any cap-free buyouts. This limits how much overall cap space gets freed for others.


According to the figures obtained above the free agents will have on average just under $2.1 million available per available roster spot. However, this assumes that each team spends up to the cap ceiling and uses all of its 23 roster spaces which on both counts will not be the case. It is not clear exactly how much money free agents will receive on average but it is pretty clear that it will be much less than the average salary of $2.45 million in 2011-12 when the salary cap was also set to $64.3 million.


The implication of the scarcity of available money for free agents this summer on fantasy hockey is significant. Not all free agents will be signed for less than what we perceive is market value but many of them will. The ones who take the financial hit become cap bargains which is key in building a team in a salary cap league.


Previously from Daoust:


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Comments (4)add comment

Rad64 said:

... We will start to see the overpaid veteran players salary demands drop and I wouldn't doubt if many European vets head back overseas a few years earlier.

I love to hear guys like Ribeiro looking for big buck 5 years deals in their 30's. Play declines, injuries increase and recovery time increases, as well.

There are very few older players like St. Louis out there that are worth their huge paychecks.
May 17, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

... the big money will be gone quick, a few will be left high and dry, or off to the KHL/europe just to earn a 'decent' paychecque. No players/agents or the media seems to think that anyone will be taking a paycut,but being forced overseas or into retirement is really just the same thing.
May 17, 2013
Votes: +1

Spec7ral said:

Great Read Although I am not in a salary cap league, your articles has, as always, fantastic insight into the state of the league and trends that affect us all. Merci beaucoup.
May 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Good find Great dig listing the average salary from 2011-2012 vs. what teams have available this year. That is very interesting. I wonder how many "agents" (not free agents) are aware of this and will actually push their players to sign, if given a decent contract that is inline with previous years. I would think that players'/agents that are hip to this knowledge will jump at a reasonable offer.

Perhaps there could be a lot of noon-1pm, July 1st signings this year!!!
May 16, 2013
Votes: +0
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