For quite some time the prevailing thought has been that the 2019-20 salary cap ceiling would climb to $83MM, giving teams a little more room to operate next season after the success of the Vegas Golden Knights and rising league revenues. That might not be the case however, as Bob McKenzie of TSN has spoken to several teams that believe it may come in under $82MM when the NHL and NHLPA come to an agreement later this week.
That’s a very small increase, but with CBA negotiations just around the corner may end up being all that is available to teams this time around. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posits a theory that the league and union will keep the salary cap increases small for the next two years until the next television contract rolls in. The Vegas Golden Knights are one of the teams that will feel the squeeze most, as they already project to have more than $83MM committed to next season, without even signing William Karlsson or Nikita Gusev.
- One way the Golden Knights could clear some room is by using long-term injured reserve on David Clarkson, who will not play again but still carries a $5.25MM cap hit. Even better would be to get rid of Clarkson’s contract entirely, and Jesse Granger of The Athletic notes that Clarkson’s camp actually submitted his 14-team no-trade list today. As Granger puts it, the submission is simply clerical as it doesn’t matter where Clarkson goes, but needed to be done if the team did want to move his contract at some point soon.
- Thomas Vanek wants to play again in 2019-20 reports Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required), and why not? The 35-year old winger recorded 36 points in 64 games for the Detroit Red Wings last season and is still a relatively effective powerplay option. Vanek is coming off a one-year $3MM deal with the Red Wings and now would be eligible for a bonus-laden contract if he can find a team interested. One of the most consistent offensive players of this generation, Vanek has 789 career points in 1,029 games and had recorded at least 41 points in every one of his 13 NHL seasons before 2018-19.