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Weekly Rumours – The Salary Cap Is Going Up!

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Tyler Yaremchuk
8 months ago
It is a quiet time for rumours around the NHL. Trade Deadline season is well in the rearview mirror and everyone is too focused on potential playoff races to worry about what moves could happen in the offseason.
We did get a few storylines out of the GM meetings earlier this week in Florida though! The big one was the idea of closing up the LTIR loophole that the Tampa Bay Lightning exposed last season. Oilers GM Ken Holland was apparently one of the more vocal managers when it comes to this topic, which is interesting.
The idea that was thrown out was to have a salary cap in the playoffs that only applies to the 20 players dressed for the game. So teams would get a little bit of wiggle room come playoff time, but they wouldn’t be able to just shelve a $9 million cap hit during the regular season and bring the player back for the playoffs.
Elliotte Friedman wrote in 32 Thoughts that there are some that are concerned about the potential unintended consequences of doing this. That makes sense. He likened it to when video review was introduced to the league. A lot of people were on board but now we get long delays in some games, which leaves people feeling like it’s a waste of time.
By the end of the GM meetings, the general sense was that this is a backburner issue in the league’s eyes. The Lightning incident was maybe more of a one-off and in my opinion, if the Golden Knights miss the playoffs this season, it may actually make some teams hesitant to try and use this loophole in the future. Yeah, you can try and get cheeky and shelve a guy until the postseason, but if you don’t make it then you end up looking a little foolish.
Frank Seravalli also brought up the fact that this would be a material change to the CBA and the NHLPA would have to sign off on it. Would the owners want to give something back to the players in order to make it happen? I’d say that’s rather doubtful. 
The GMs also talked about figuring out a way to make sure a situation like what happened with Evgenii Dadonov doesn’t happen again. It seems like they’ve found a solution to make sure no-trade lists are properly tracked.
We also got confirmation that the salary cap ceiling will be increasing by $1 million next season. That’s good news for the Oilers, who will be tight up against the cap once again.  With this increase, the Oilers will have around $8.8 million in cap space for the summer and that’s not including having @Oscar Klefbom’s $4.1 million cap hit on LTIR. So really, it’s closer to $13 million.
There’s no doubt that they’ll try to move on from pieces like @Tyson Barrie and @Zack Kassian but that is likely easier said than done. Regardless, the big questions for the Oilers heading into the summer are how they handle the likes of Kane, Puljujarvi, and Yamamoto and also how they handle their goaltending with @Mike Smith still under contract for one more season.
Everyone hates buyouts, but I think there’s a real chance the Oilers are forced to go that route.

RAMBLINGS NOT RUMBLINGS

  • There has been some chatter that @Claude Giroux is on the Ottawa Senators’ radar heading into the summer. I wonder if the passing of Eugene Melnyk complicates the Senators’ offseason plans though. Does Pierre Dorion have the approval to sign a big-ticket free agent?
  • I have a conspiracy theory that the Wild told Alex Goligoski last summer that if he signed a 1-year deal, $5 million deal with them that they would give him a lower-money extension in the season. That’s just me throwing stuff out there, but wouldn’t that make sense? Why else would a team give a defenseman that has been getting healthy scratched a two-year deal in the middle of the season when they have major cap problems coming? Anyways, that’s just me rambling.
  • I do wonder if the Wild will be able to afford Kevin Fiala. They only have about $8 million in projected cap space and Fiala may want a deal starting around the $7 million range.
  • If the Wild want to sign Marc-Andre Fleury and ‘The Flower’ is willing to sign a team-friendly to try to win next season, could Cam Talbot be available? That would make sense.

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