Here’s some great news for the Edmonton Oilers — the NHL’s salary cap ceiling is set to rise from $75 million to somewhere between $78 and $82 million for the 2018-19 season. With Connor McDavid’s record-setting $12.5 million annual extension set to kick in next season, the Oilers needed this news.
Per @renlavoietva, the NHL's salary cap will end up between $78 and $82 million next season, a pretty significant rise from this year's $75 million limit.— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) March 21, 2018
At minimum, if this report is correct, the cap will go up by $3 million next season. But if it reaches the $82 million figure Renaud Lavoie said it could, that would represent the biggest jump, $7 million, seen since the massive $6.3 million hike the ceiling took between 2006-07 and 2007-08. That said, I imagine the ceiling will end up at $80 million, which was suggested back in December.
Like I said, this would be huge for the Oilers. Obviously it’s a good thing for pretty much every team in the league save for those who are struggling to reach the salary cap ceiling, but with Edmonton set to pay McDavid and Leon Draisaitl $21 million annually combined, they were really banking on a pretty significant salary cap increase.
Back in the off-season when Draisaitl and McDavid inked those deals, I compared them to another dynamic duo, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and how much of a percentage of the cap they ate up. Ultimately, the point was that they were going to eat up a lot of cap in the short-term, but like Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh, as the ceiling went up, the percentage of what McDavid and Draisaitl cost against the cap would go down. The argument against this logic was that the salary cap wasn’t going to continue to rise at as aggressive of a clip as it did after Malkin and Crosby signed their big contracts, but this news suggests otherwise. I figure we see another big spike in 2021-22 after the Seattle expansion team breaks into the league.
When Crosby and Malkin started making a combined $18.2 million in 2014-15, the cap was at $69 million, meaning they cost the Penguins 26.4 per cent of their cap. Draisaitl and McDavid next year will cost the Oilers $21 million, which is $26.3 per cent of the $80 million figure right in the middle of the suggested range.
I’m not saying that McDavid and Draisaitl and Crosby and Malkin, but the Oilers probably aren’t as screwed by the $21 million combined cap hit as many think. I mean, to be honest, while Draisaitl is likely an overpay at $8.5 million, McDavid is discounted at $12.5 million. He costs them 15.6 per cent of an $80 million cap and he’s accountable for driving a lot more than 15.6 per cent of the team’s success.
Next year, the Oilers have about $62 million committed to eight forwards, four defencemen, and two goaltenders. Among those not signed are restricted free agents Ryan Strome, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, and Iiro Pakarinen. That means the Oilers would have about $18 million to get those guys signed and upgrade their roster. Let’s, uh, hope they spend it this time.