Salary Cap projected to rise to between $78 and $82

The NHL’s salary cap ceiling is reportedly 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.

At minimum, if this report is correct, the cap will go up by a modest $3 million next season. But if it reaches the $82 million figure at the top end of what’s being suggested, that $7 million increase would represent the biggest jump seen since the massive $6.3 million hike the ceiling took between 2006-07 and 2007-08.

I imagine the ceiling will end up at $80 million, which was suggested back in December.

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Like I said, this would be huge for the Oilers. I mean, unless you’re a team like the Coyotes or Hurricanes struggling to reach the salary cap floor this is a good thing, but it’s especially important for the Oilers for the salary cap to rise given Connor McDavid’s massive $12.5 million extension kicking in. When the Oilers inked McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to a combined $21 million cap hit last summer it was expected the deals would start to look like bargains as the cap went up over time.

For the sake of comparison, when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni 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 the salary 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.

GDB 56.0 Wrap Up: Oilers solid from the crease outward, beating the Blackhawks by 5-3 score

As of right now, the Oilers have about $65 million committed to nine forwards, four defencemen, and three goalies. Assuming they dump or bury Al Montoya and Kailer Yamamoto makes the team, it’s about $65 million for 10 forwards, four defencemen, and two goalies. The Oilers also have Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, Ryan Strome, and Drake Caggiula in need of new RFA deals.

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Assuming the cap ends up at $80 million, Edmonton will have about $15 million to sign those RFAs and make some minor tweaks to their roster.

Edmonton’s salary cap situation at NHLNumbers

    • LAKID

      That’s rich who would take on Lucic’s contract? There’s nothing wrong with with Russel’s as he can be traded next year but Lucic is an Albatross hanging around Chia’s kneck. Chia will trade and it will not be well recieved. Nurse, Klefbom and RNH are his only trade chips. Chia is in a desperate situation and someone is heading out of town unless he pulls a bunny out of his bum.

      • oilerjed

        I know you must really believe this since you say almost every article, but Chia is not in the precarious position you think he is. Those are 3 players that I can’t see him moving anytime soon.

      • That's My Point

        Arizona took a players contract who wasn’t even in the NHL.
        Pronger was traded in 2015, three years after his last NHL game.
        Why wouldn’t Arizona take on a huge contract with a live player?

        • crabman

          @That’s My Point,

          Not saying they would or wouldn’t want Lucic but his situation is different from Pronger or Datsyuk. Their contracts were acquired by Arizona so they could get to the cap floor and because they had cap space to add those contracts. Their contracts counted against the cap on day 1 but were never paid by Arizona. Datsyuk left to the KHL and Proger was on LTIR. Trading for those contracts didn’t cost them a dime financially but they recieved assets to take on those contracts.

      • ziyan94

        He will command atleast $7 million per year, and Washington still have to re-sign Tom Wilson and maybe Smith-Pelly as well. At the very least Carlson will test the open market to see what teams offer him. The guy fits the description of the RHD point-getting Dman all us Oilers fans have been crying out for.

  • bwar

    Even at 82 Miliion we don’t have much room to do much without moving out contracts. Last season was the Oiler’s window to use some cap room and try to win. Instead they intentionally downgraded in several areas and let the season slip away. This coming season is going to be a struggle to field a competitive team while staying under the cap. We need a few more years of cap increases before we have another cup run. Very frustrating as a fan.

  • OriginalPouzar


    Are you including the Pouliot buyout and making any cushion for Puljijarvi’s bonuses?

    Are you also replacing the lost UFAs? Slep, Pak, and Cammy were on the roster at the end of the year each for under $1M so they need to be replaced.

    The following isn’t what I want to happen but its to show how limited the cap space is. I believe I was reasonable when resinging the RFAs (Nurse – $4M, Caggulia $1.25M, Strome – $3M Benning – $1.75M) and I replaced the three UFAs with PRV, Brodziak and Marody just as examples of filling out the lineup with players under $1M.


    Nuge ($6M) / McDavid ($12.5M) / Rattie ($800K)

    Khaira ($675K) / Drai ($8.5M) / Puljijarvi ($925K)

    Lucic ($6M) / Strome ($3M) / Aberg ($650K)

    Caggulia ($1.35M) / Brodziak ($950K) / Kassian ($1.95K)

    Magnus ($950K) / Marody ($925K)


    Klefbom ($4.167M) / Larsson ($4.167M
    Nurse ($4M) / Russell ($4M)
    Sekera ($5.5M) / Benning (1.65M)

    Gryba ($900K)

    Talbot ($4.167M)
    Koskinen ($2.5M)

    The above lineup has two outside acquisition, 12th/13th forwards for less than $1M each.

    The cap hit for the 23 man roster (which includes Marody, Rattie) is $77.5M

    That doesn’t account for the Pouliot buyout of $1.33M which will take it to $78.8M.

    It doesn’t take in to account any of Jesse’s bonuses which are maxed at apx. $2.5M so lets give a cushion of $1.25M which essentially takes us to $80M.

    So, we are at $80M without any material acquisition.

    • ziyan94

      I expect us to sign Strome and Gryba for cheaper than the amounts you’ve listed there, but yeah you’ve made a great point about how Chia has handcuffed our team financially

          • LAKID

            Neither do anchors like Lucic and Gryba. Strome was half decent as a 3rd line center at the end of the season and Chia would not dare trade him after what he paid to get him or would he?

      • LAKID

        The only move Chia can make is dollars out for dollars in. Chia has screwed the pooch so bad that his only trade chips are Nurse/Klefbom and RNH. No wiggle room if Nurse wants 5-6M or is offer sheeted. I think it’s a good thing Treliving screwed the pooch by giving up a 1st and two seconds for Hamonic because the offer sheet on Nurse would be a great play and could be. If Iam in the division I offer sheet Nurse.

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        Gryba signed a two year deal last year he is still under contract for next year at 900k. Strome has to be qualified at 3mil but can be signed for less i believe.

      • OriginalPouzar

        Gryba is alread signed.

        Strome may come in at or around $2.5M but Nurse could be higher than $4M as well (hope not but could be – its a tough contract to predict).

    • crabman

      I’ve commented on your projected lineup( for salary cap implications ) before but here I go again. I think Nurse will be bridged at or around $3.5M, $4M is too much for a bridge and not enough for longterm. Strome in at around $2.75M. Gryba left in the AHL and a 7th defenceman signed in the 700K range, like Auvitu was. Kassian may very well be moved to save $1M in the 4RW spot. And I thin $1M for a ELC bonus cushion for Puljujarvi is ample. That gives another $2M to work with. Not much but it helps. If we replace Marody or Paajarvi their cap hit of $925-950K gets added to the $2M above to give just under $3M to sign a veteran top6 winger for Draisaitl and Khaira can slot in at 4C or 4LW. I also believe they will either only carry 13f and 7d, 2 pressbox players, or the 14th F will be in the $700-725K range. Saving the team an addition $250-950K to work with. Lastly they could also not plan on having any bonus cushion for Puljujarvi. I’m not saying this is a good plan but he hasn’t shown he is about to have a breakout season and if he does hit $1M worth of bonuses the team can go over the cap and be penalized that amount next year. Not a great option but possible.
      Even if the Oilers do everything I suggest you are right they don’t have a lot of room to maneuver this summer. No room for even small overlays.

  • TKB2677

    I have said it before. If you bring back the exact same team that ended the season, they aren’t as bad as their record. In a normal year, you don’t have Klefbom injured, Sekera injured and Larsson having family issues all at once for basically the whole season. That’s 3 out of 4 of your top 4 as shadows of themselves. Then on top of that, Benning took 2 steps back. If he goes any lower, he’s out of the league. Nurse took a step last year. You have to assume at worst he will level off and just be more consistent with more experience. So even if all those guys do is bounce back to being mediocre, the Oilers are instantly WAY better defensively and on all their special teams and their record will be way better. Their defense literally could not play any worse last year.

    Talbot is a decent NHL goalie who had a bad, bad season. With improved defensive play, he will be better but he himself will be better.

    No team can win when basically your entire defense core is either hurt or playing poorly on top of your goalie having an off year.

    At forward, other than McDavid, Nuge and maybe Khaira, no forward had a good year. Even McDavid took 3 months to figure out that he has to shoot once in awhile to make himself more of a threat which in turn opens up the pass. No team is going to do well when more than 3/4 of your forward group is having an off year. People can hate on Lucic all they want. He had 1 goal in what 40 some games? I don’t think he could do that again if he tried. I think he hit at least 10+ posts or cross bars over that stretch.

    So I don’t think this line up is in as bad a shape as some people think.

    • crabman


      I agree with most of your post and you made a very valid points. A healthy D and a return to league average goaltending and this is a much better team. This alone should help the pk as well as add a ng assistant coach with a history of a strong penalty kill. I believe a healthy D along with new assistant coach for the pp will greatly improve the team as well. McDavid has been a poor pp player so far in his career, and he admitted as much himself, so I believe working on skills to slow the game down and create more offence on the pp while shooting more will be a priority in his training this offseason and he will be much better on the pp this season. I hope a forward or 2 starting their AHL career will prove themselves as call up options incase of injury. And I think both Jones, and Bear will be ready for call up giving the Oilers more depth incase of injury this year.
      The only point I disagree with is your opinion of Benning. Benning wasn’t able to emerge as a top4 option last year but he had a very good season for a bottom pair defenceman. He finished top 3 on the team in most statistical categories. Benning is the type of player that isn’t great at anything but has proven to be a very reliable bottom pair option. As long as his resigning comes in at bottom pair money I’ll be very happy to have him back next year.

  • OnDaWagon

    How come all those teams with 10 – 12 million $ players need 80 million and Vegas only needs 50 to get to where we want to be?

    Vegas has proven something. That there are a lot of very good hockey players on NHL teams that their own GMs and coaches don’t even realize are there. Stupidity rules. Have to give this guy or that guy ice time because he’s paid millions $$$. Or because the GM or coach is tight with him.

    • Hemmercules

      Im skeptical they can do it again. Maybe they can but with a bunch of those guys having career years and few others out the door it doesn’t seem sustainable. They are riding a crazy high right now. Expectations will be through the roof next year and that adds pressure. The real world of the NHL starts for them next year, no more plucking guys from other teams for nothing. They still have Fleury another year so that bodes well for them but a few guys on that team are getting raises for sure if Vegas want to keep them. Marchessault got a 5 million raise already, what will Karlsson get??

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Vegas, Winnipeg, Washington, Tampa…keys to success:
      1. Top Tier goaltending.
      2. Lots of speed throughout lineup (all 4 lines).
      3. Good secondary scoring, throughout the lineup (d-men too).
      4. All D-men MUST be able to transition (crisp fast passes) the puck out of their zone very well.
      5. Solid puck handling D-men on the powerplay.
      After reading this post, look at the final 4 playoff teams and compare them to non-playoff teams. Many teams have LOTS of holes to fill.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Gifting players ice time, sinks the ship. Not only that it kills team morel when young hard working players sit while big contract players get free ice.