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Which NHL Teams Have Cap Space?

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With NHL Free Agency kicking off on Thursday, I thought it would be useful to take a look at which teams have cap space (I did this last year too). Many people like to visit the wonderful www.capgeek.com site and look at how much money each team currently has committed to players. However, that only gives part of the picture because many teams have RFAs that must be signed and each NHL team must field a roster of 20 players each night. Because of short term injuries the vast majority of NHL teams will end up carrying a 22 man roster for most of the season.

So to get a realistic picture of each team's cap situation I began by assuming that each team must at a minimum have 22 players making at least the NHL minimum salary (0.5 million) =$11.0 million in Cap Space. Then I entered in each player who has a valid contract. For Restricted Free Agents, I inserted the amount of Qualifying Offers minimums. Most RFAs will end up being more (sometimes much more) than the QO. I did not count bonus clause for players on Entry Level Contracts as most players fail to reach those incentives (but some will of course)

The numbers below represent the lowest possible cap estimate of each team's salary cap costs for a 22 man roster. Some teams will end up paying their RFAs more than their qualifying offers. Some teams will have players who earn their bonus clauses. Think of this as the lower boundary estimate.

Now for some teams I simply used a place holder of $0.5 NHL minimum salary to fill out the last few roster spots. If for example a team were to sign Ilya Kovalchuk for say $9.0 million and Kovalchuk replaced a NHL minimum player then it would only increase that team's cap hit by $8.5 million ($9.0 million - $0.5 million).

 

22 Man Roster with QO Minimums
Team Cap $$$ Cap Space
Islanders 32.8 26.6
Avalanche 36.8 22.6
Thrashers 38.0 21.4
Blues 38.8 20.6
Lightning 40.8 18.6
Predators 41.6 17.8
Coyotes 43.3 16.1
Ducks 43.8 15.6
Kings 45.4 14.0
Hurricanes 46.6 12.8
Stars 47.3 12.1
Panthers 47.6 11.8
Maple Leafs 47.9 11.5
Capitals 48.3 11.1
Oilers 48.7 10.7
Wild 48.9 10.5
Sabres 49.3 10.1
Devils 49.5 9.9
Blue Jackets 50.1 9.3
Penguins 50.6 8.8
Senators 51.3 8.1
Rangers 51.3 8.1
Canucks 53.2 6.2
Sharks 54.3 5.1
Flames 54.9 4.5
Flyers 56.1 3.3
Red Wings 56.6 2.8
Canadiens 56.9 2.5
Blackhawks 57.5 1.9
Bruins 61.1 -1.7

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