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 2018-19 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: $75,119,584 (under the $79.5MM Upper Limit)
The team has gotten great play from their youth in the last couple of years as several players have taken that next step and become regular contributors to the Sharks’ lineup. Meier may be one of the best as the 21-year-old broke out with a 21-goal season last year. The ninth-overall pick in the 2015 draft looks ready to continue a top-six role and perhaps become a key contributor there for many more years. Meier is also playing for a big payday, so if he can take that next step and develop into a 30-goal winger, he would be heading in the right direction.
Gambrell only managed to appear in three games for the playoff-bound Sharks after he signed out of the University of Denver. The 22-year-old center is likely to force his way into a forward role in the bottom-six after he posted three straight 40-point seasons in college. Labanc, who had struggled with consistency in previous years with San Jose, finally broke into a full-time role with San Jose and produced 11 goals and 40 points. He could be primed for an even bigger year, just in time as his entry-level deal will run out.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
Much of the Sharks success in the next few years will come down to the play of Thornton and Pavelski, two players that have helped carry the team during their years of success. Both players are on their final year of their deal. Thornton signed a one-year deal and only time will tell whether he will continue that career at age 39. Despite suffering a torn MCL in January, he still posted solid numbers, scoring 13 goals and 36 points in 47 games. His days of posting 80 points are likely over, but if he can prove he can still produce, he could be back for several more one-year deals. Pavelski is another matter. The 34-year-old is starting to decline, but likely wants to ink one last long-term deal. While it makes sense that both sides will eventually come to an agreement, much is depending on the success that Pavelski has this season as well.
Donskoi shows improvement as well, posting a career-high 14 goals last season. His play improved to the point that he got some playing time on the first line as he generates shots as the team attempted 53.73 percent of five-on-five shots, while the team shot just 49 percent without him on the ice.Read more