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The 2019-20 NHL salary cap could be lower than expected

Back in December at the NHL’s annual Board of Governors meeting, it was speculated that the league’s salary cap ceiling could rise to as high as $83 million for the 2019-20 season. Earlier today, Darren Dreger reported that the cap ceiling could come below the original figure of $83 million and some teams are worried it could end up below $82 million.

This is fairly similar to what happened last year. At the BoG meeting in 2017, it was speculated the 2018-19 cap would go up from the 2017-18 figure of $75 million to somewhere between $78 and $82 million and it ultimately ended up at $79.5 million. This is why it’s best for teams not to assume the salary cap will end up at the highest estimate. The jumps from year to year are quite sporadic.

Given the salary cap coming in slightly lower than expected, the Oilers will have even less wiggle room to navigate their tight cap situation this summer. The Oilers already have about $72 million committed to the cap next season, according to PuckPedia. The team has to deal with restricted free agents Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, and Ty Rattie, add depth up front, and sign a backup goalie to play alongside Mikko Koskinen.

To me, it seems imperative that the Oilers deal one of their large contracts from the blueline. Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera are signed for two more years at $4 million and $5.5 million respectively. Dealing one of them would make it a lot easier to sign a solid 1B goalie and make some depth additions up front this summer.

I mean, we’re talking about a one or two percent variance in the expected salary cap ceiling here, so it isn’t the end of the world. Even if the ceiling ended up at the highest-anticipated upper limit suggested, moving one of those contracts from the blueline was an obvious play for the Oilers. The lower cap just highlights the importance of that kind of move for adding to other areas of need.



  • hagar

    7 million in two years is still quite a bit.

    Do they use some sort of spreadsheet to average out player salary increase per year then adjust the cap to compensate in a player inflation type thing, or do they base it on economic type inflation numbers?

    Seems the wages are going up faster than the cap.

    • BR

      A Cap hit is calculated by dividing his total Salary and Bonus amount by the years. So doesn’t matter what money the guy gets paid each year, the cap hit will be the same.

      I understand the cap being set is based off a large number of things, significantly expected total league revenue.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      yeah and the last two times there was a strike/lockout Bettman said it would bring in cost certainty for the owners which it has to some extent, but the Owners are still seeing players get huge contracts by GM’s around the league, the owners as much as they dont want to have the cap go up know that having more cap room is vital but does anyone believe other than Bettman that some owners would love to see the cap go higher, sure their are owners that would but the guys like Melnyk wouldn’t when they dont want to spend anymore than they have to, because if the ceiling goes up so will the cap floor

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I said this before but I dont see the Oilers taking on any guys with salaries over 4mil without moving a couple big contracts, we just dont have the room with all of the Oilers need and not much money to spend not to mention the Oilers have to watch the number of guys they have signed to contracts. Will Holland try and move a couple guys, I believe so but it is going to be difficult because teams will be in the same boat as the Oilers in they will want to send money back, unless it is a need for them and they send a player back on a lower hit cap that isnt of equal value.

    Contracts like Mannning’s are going to be a bit of an albatross, because it is money that is tied up and its a contract spot on the books that is going to be difficult to deal, I expect the OIlers to be looking at guys in situation like Chaisson was last year were guys were the odd man due to team contract numbers or slalary cap issue and deemed expendable. Hopefully Holland is way smarter than Chia and able to swing some deals to dump a few contracts to teams desperate to get to the cap floor

    • Die Hard Oiler Fan

      “Hopefully Holland is way smarter than Chia……..”.

      Based on the moves Chia made while in Edmonton, this is a given. Chia couldn’t have screwed our cap situation more if he tried. Thank god he’s gone. As an aside, I wonder how Kyle Dubas (Toronto GM for any not familiar with the name), feels above the potential for a lower (than the $83M initially anticipated) cap. Bet he’s s _ _ tting himself, if he wasn’t already …..gotta love it. And he is not alone. There are numerous teams in worse situations than us (Tampa, Winnipeg, Vegas). I hope we can somehow trade Russell to free up approx. $3M cap space ($4M less approx. $1M for his replacement). That extra might go further than we think in terms of getting some scoring depth up front.

      • HOCKEY83

        I think it would be hard to replace the 3rd top shot blocker in the league and one of the few plus players on the team in a top 4 defensive role for less than the 4 mil The Oil are paying Russell. Take away Russell’s blocked shots and lucic massive amount of hits and you’d see a lot more goals against the Oil next season. Those 2 players may be overpaid but they also both do specific jobs better than almost everyone in the NHL.