NHL Teams Ranked By Cap Space

Holland

The fact that the salary cap has changed the NHL landscape is something that anyone who follows hockey is constantly reminded of. For the Western Canadian teams, that salary cap was once something worth fighting for; but a number of factors – most importantly, the recovery of the Canadian dollar – have changed it from a blessing to a curse.
None of this is to say that NHL teams don’t need it. The league will always have small markets, and they need to be protected – both by measures like a salary cap and by revenue sharing*. The league will also always have the New York Rangers, and for the good of all Glen Sather needs the restraint.

With teams like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton all relatively close to the salary cap, it’s easy to get the impression that every team is battling cap issues. That turns out to not to be the case; what follows is a list of cap space available to each club, rounded to the nearest 100,000 (courtesy of CapGeek.com):

  • New York Islanders: 18.7MM
  • Nashville: 15.3MM
  • Phoenix: 14.1MM
  • Tampa Bay: 11.9MM
  • Columbus: 11.5MM
  • Dallas: 10.5MM
  • Atlanta: 10.4MM
  • Los Angeles: 9.4 MM
  • Colorado: 9.0MM
  • St. Louis: 8.8MM
  • Florida: 7.7MM
  • New Jersey: 5.2MM
  • Minnesota: 4.2MM
  • Anaheim: 4.1MM
  • Buffalo: 3.3MM
  • Vancouver: 2.7MM
  • New York Rangers: 2.5MM
  • Montreal: 2.2MM
  • Carolina: 2.2MM
  • Toronto: 2.2MM
  • Pittsburgh: 1.8MM
  • Calgary: 1.4MM
  • Chicago: 1.4MM
  • Washington: 1.3MM
  • Edmonton: 1.2MM
  • Boston: 1.1MM
  • Philadelphia: 0.4MM
  • San Jose: -0.3MM
  • Ottawa: -0.6MM
  • Detroit: -1.0MM

Of note:

Nashville has a limited amount of payroll, but they will need to add at least one more defenseman (they have six NHL’ers, and the bottom three is a rather pedestrian group (Kevin Klein, Alex Sulzer and Wade Belak). On top of that, Patric Hornqvist (7 points in 28 NHL games) is penciled in as the second-line LW.

Columbus has been connected rumours-wise to virtually every offensive defenseman available; they’ll need to add a puck-mover at some point. Given the Howson-Edmonton connection, it’s a fairly easy leap to guess they’ll add someone from the Oilers’ stable.

Dallas could also probably use a defenseman; their forward combinations aren’t bad but the loss of Zubov to injury was bad news last year and his departure in favour of the KHL is worse news this year.

Dany Heatley’s dream of playing for the San Jose Sharks is all but impossible unless the Sharks somehow manage to cut salary.

I, like everybody else, am firmly convinced of the genius of Ken Holland, but the Red Wings signing Todd Bertuzzi and Jason Williams pushes them over the cap, and they’ll need to address that before the season starts.

* Tony Gallagher, a columnist who covers the Vancouver Canucks, displayed a delicious blind spot for irony when he recently complained that the NHL’s revenue sharing system was helping the Canucks lose games. It’s ironic because less than a decade ago, the Canucks were described as “losing millions”, “in flux” and Brian Burke was saying positive things about only losing 12 million dollars per season. I think it takes an almost total ignorance of the past twenty years for anyone who covers a team in Western Canada to argue against protection measures for small markets.

  • Hippy

    "So Stoll + Geene is better than
    Umberger & some 3rd rounders?"

    That should've read:
    "Stoll + Geene + $2 Million in Cap space…"

    Unlike many, I think of Cap space as an asset

  • Hippy

    @ Asciutto:
    100 out of 100 times I would trade Stoll and Greene for Visnovsky. I would push Howson's Grandma down the stairs to make that trade again.

    Why should the Oilers trade Vis for peanuts because LA dealt Vis for peanuts? It's not Edmonton's problem that LA didnt get good value for their D-Man.

    Cap space IS valuable, but the Oil havent even been forced to keep a guy in the minors just to save the cap yet, so why dump a guy who was their best all around defenseman for a 27 yr old who's career year has been 50 points? Am I the only one who thinks Umberger has been underwhelming his whole career?

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Am I the only one who thinks Umberger has been underwhelming his whole career?

    The way people talk about him reminds me of Danius Zubrus. For a few years there, it seemed like everyone was dropping this guy's name as a 'next big thing' and I don't think he ever got more than like 14 goals a season.

  • Hippy

    @ Librarian Mike:
    Exactly. The guy is 27 and scored 20, 16, 13, and 26 goals. He has never scored more than 50 points in a season.

    Visnovsky plays huge minutes and was on pace to have more points than Umberger this year if it wasnt for a shoulder injury.

    Umberger at 3.75 is hardly any better than Penner at 4.25. How would people like having 2 Penners and a Horcoff in their top 6?

  • Hippy

    The problem is that none of the top-four guys are guys you want to see out of town.

    – Visnovsky's the best of the lot.
    – Souray's tremendous physically and packs a cannon.
    – Gilbert's a great puck-mover at a very young age and isn't too pricey at 4MM/yr – plus he's signed long-term.
    – Grebeshkov's the cheapest of the bunch and we still don't know where his ceiling is.

    If Souray does want out of town that makes it easy but if he doesn't it isn't a remotely easy decision to make.

  • Hippy

    ronaldo wrote:

    I would push Howson’s Grandma down the stairs for a Klondike Bar.

    I heard Howson went to Columbus because his Grandma didn't like it in Edmonton. Just saying…

  • Hippy

    "Worst….. Trade….. Ever"

    Ya think so?
    Get outta town!
    I've seen dozens worse
    including some I've put up myself

    Schremp/Pouliot/Brodziak + O'Sullivan/Staios/Plante + Roloson + 3rd
    for
    Spezza + 2nd

  • Hippy

    Asciutto wrote:

    “Worst….. Trade….. Ever”
    Ya think so?
    Get outta town!
    I’ve seen dozens worse
    including some I’ve put up myself
    Schremp/Pouliot/Brodziak + O’Sullivan/Staios/Plante + Roloson + 3rd
    for
    Spezza + 2nd

    I would make that trade in a heartbeat. Brodz only got us a 6th rounder, and besides O'sully, he's the best player in that bunch.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    The problem is that none of the top-four guys are guys you want to see out of town.
    – Visnovsky’s the best of the lot.
    – Souray’s tremendous physically and packs a cannon.
    – Gilbert’s a great puck-mover at a very young age and isn’t too pricey at 4MM/yr – plus he’s signed long-term.
    – Grebeshkov’s the cheapest of the bunch and we still don’t know where his ceiling is.
    If Souray does want out of town that makes it easy but if he doesn’t it isn’t a remotely easy decision to make.

    It would be nice to have our cake and eat it too by keeping the 'big 4' and acquiring a top end scoring winner. Truthfully though, for cap issues alone a trade for such a player would have to involve a decent player with a big contract heading the other way.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Also, looking at Nashville’s depth chart, I see a definite potential destination for one of Nilsson/Schremp.

    Possibly but most likely they wait for the waiver wire. I think there are a few teams that will have to expose players they'd rather not lose for nothing to fix their cap situation.

  • Hippy

    How do I spell relief P E N N E R … give him away and we move from 25th place to 12th and have some breathing room. Does it affect our top lines? nope Do we lose an effective PK'er or checker? nope Do we lose a player that gives it all in battle for copper and blue? nope

    B'bye Penner … please!

  • Hippy

    Jon wrote:

    How do I spell relief P E N N E R … give him away and we move from 25th place to 12th and have some breathing room. Does it affect our top lines? nope Do we lose an effective PK’er or checker? nope Do we lose a player that gives it all in battle for copper and blue? nope
    B’bye Penner … please!

    I always love this game.

    Once the teams hit the ice, it's irrelavant if you have the 5th highest payroll or the 18th highest payroll.

  • Hippy

    Not sure what is worse not making the plaoffs and being in the top 10 or not having a single franchise player and being inside the top 10. Tampa has 3 potentially 4 franchise players and 10+ mil to spend!

  • Hippy

    DangerMan wrote:

    if Regier has forgiven Edmonton for the Vanek fiasco.

    At this point based on the current contract values he should thank Lowe for the Vanek contract. a 40 goal scorer for 7.1 signed through 2014 sounds almost like a bargin!!

  • Hippy

    olderthendirt wrote:

    Need one more stat with the cap room, how many more NHL quality players do the teams need to start the season. Seems to me some teams may have to use an AHL 4th line.

    Ohh the irony does this mean that because the Oilers have everyone signed that we don't have to start the season with a AHL 4th line. At this point I will take Phillys issues any day of the week.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan, thx … saw Derek's article and with a little work, I can use stats to show Penner is really the Queen of England. The man has shown disregard for his teammates, coaches and fans, proven inflexible and unwilling to learn new roles and the contract, that he readily accepted (along with the attached expectations), is the one very noticeable problem for the Oilers. Other players (Horc) might be slightly overpaid, but Horcoff is incredibly valuable in all situations. Penner? … I guess he's good at being big and screening the goalie.

  • Hippy

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