It’s official now, the NHL salary cap ceiling will be set at $79.5MM for the 2018-19 season. The cap floor will be $58.8MM, just under where it was expected to land. The NHLPA exercised a 1.25% inflator, much smaller than the 5% maximum they are allowed each season.
The new limit will allow teams a little more flexibility this summer when looking to address problems on their roster, and should increase the amount of money free agents can ask for on the open market. The new maximum salary a single player can receive—20% of the cap ceiling—is $15.9MM, a number that no one comes close to around the league. Right now Connor McDavid is set to be the player with the highest cap hit at $12.5MM, though there is a possibility that John Tavares breaks that this summer if he reaches free agency and is involved in a bidding war.
With the release of the schedule, we also know how that daily cap hits are based on an 186-day season. CapFriendly has already updated their site and reflect these totals, giving you a clear picture of how much space each team has. At present, the Florida Panthers have the least amount of cap space with just over $8.3MM, while the New York Islanders lead the way with a whopping $32.8MM. That could obviously change with Tavares’ contract, though Lou Lamoriello and company will likely be active either way.
There are currently 14 teams that sit under the $58.8MM floor, but many would eclipse that just by keeping some of their minor league two-way contracts on the roster. For others like Carolina and Vegas though, there is quite a bit of work to be done just to meet the minimum. Vegas seems ready and willing to spend the money in free agency, but Carolina is more of a wildcard under owner Tom Dundon. The team has several restricted free agents to sign, but have been involved in trade talks for some of their more high-priced talent.