Navigating the Salary Cap is probably one of the more important tasks for any general manager to have. Teams that can avert total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2017-18 season. This will focus more on those players who are integral parts of the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current Cap Hit: $57,037,501 (under the $75MM Upper Limit)
It turned into a solid summer for the Devils as they won the draft lottery and used that first-overall pick to select Hischier, a talented Swiss center, who put up 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He is expected to break camp with the team and have an immediate impact. With recent injuries, Hischier could take over as the second-line center and start his career in a great position. The hope is he will help lead this team to the playoffs sooner rather than later.
Butcher has been a more recent signing sensation as the Devils also won the offseason bidding for the Hobey Baker Award winner after he became a free agent several weeks ago. Butcher picked the Devils with the hopes of getting immediate playing time, since no one is truly sure if he is an NHL impact player. The 22-year-old blueliner put up outstanding numbers as a junior and senior at the University of Denver, but chose not to sign with the team that drafted him, the Colorado Avalanche. With the Devils biggest weakness being their defense, the team is thrilled to bring him on board.
Zacha, the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, finished his first full season in New Jersey, playing in 70 games, while putting up eight goals and 16 assists for the year. While those numbers look disappointing, he didn’t play a lot of minutes last year (14:18) and didn’t play with much talent next to him, although he looked good playing alongside Taylor Hall at points during the season. He should take that next step this year. Kapla, like Butcher arrives to join the team’s defense from college. He played four years for the University of Massachusetts – Lowell and signed a two year deal immediately after ending his senior year. That first year consisted of five games. Already on year two of his deal, Kapla must prove he is an NHL defenseman this year.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
The group is not filled with impact players, so the Devils have little to worry about in the short term. They will likely rejoice once’s Clowe’s contract comes off the books. The veteran signed a five-year deal back in 2013 and only played two years, before being forced to retire due to concussion issues. Moore is an offensive defenseman (22 points in 63 games last year), but is totally inept on the defensive end. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team went in a different direction on defense next year.
Prout, who the team picked up at the trade deadline for veteran Kyle Quincey, only played 14 games for the Devils and it might take all season to determine whether or not he has value. Stafford, who just signed recently to a one-year deal, could easily be a bargaining chip at the trade deadline. After putting up 21 goals two seasons ago while with the Winnipeg Jets, his value dropped as he scored just eight goals between the Jets and the Boston Bruins last season. The Devils, however, are counting on a bounce-back season, which could eventually net them some more young talent. Noesen, who signed a one-year, two-way contract will try to make the roster this year after scoring six goals in 32 games for New Jersey last season.