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 Projected Cap Hit: $76,853,780 (under the $79.5MM Upper Limit)
Entry Level Contracts
After a impressive rookie campaign, the Lightning knew they had a special player in Point, who proceeded to have a breakout year as the team’s second-line center. Point, who is good enough to be a No. 1 center, provided the team with a 32-goal, 66-point season. Now in his third year, Point could really walk away with a huge payday if he can equal or even better on that performance this year. Cirelli looks to have the third-line center spot locked down after the 21-year-old had a successful, but short stint, last season. He posted five goals and 11 points in 18 games last season and played in all 17 games of the playoffs, adding a pair of goals.
Sergachev has two years remaining on his contract and the 20-year-old defenseman had an up and down season, but still posted a nine-goal, 40-point season. He did have trouble getting regular minutes as the team often lost faith in his defensive play along with some immaturity issues. Regardless, the left-handed shot actually proved to head coach Jon Cooper that he can play on the right side, solving their depth issues on the right side. Sergachev should continue to develop his skills and also be in line for a big payday in two years.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry Level
D Anton Stralman ($4.5MM, UFA)
D Braydon Coburn ($3.7MM, UFA)
D Dan Girardi ($3MM, UFA)
F Yanni Gourde ($1MM, UFA)
F Cedric Paquette ($1MM, RFA)
D Slater Koekkoek ($865K, RFA)
D Jake Dotchin ($813K, RFA)
F Adam Erne ($800K, RFA)
F Andy Andreoff ($678K, UFA)
F Cory Conacher ($650K, UFA)
For a team known for its defensive depth on its defense, it’s a little shocking to see that they only have three players signed after the 2018-19 season. Almost all of the team’s defense become free agents, restricted or otherwise, including Stralman, Coburn, Girardi, Koekkoek and Dotchin. With the team heavily laden in long-term deals, the team might be willing to allow Stralman, Coburn and Girardi to walk at the end of the year. All three are solid players, but there might not be any cap room to extend any of them, especially if the team has to give long-term deals to both Sergachev and Point. Stralman’s situation will be the most interesting as he’s a solid defenseman that complements his partner quite well and was the veteran who mentored Sergachev last season. Coburn and Girardi are likely expendable. Koekkoek and Dotchin will only be restricted free agents, but neither got a lot of playing time with the team, especially after the team added defensive talent at the trade deadline. However, both could play bigger roles this year, or within two years.
Another interesting decision the team will have to make is Gourde, who posted a breakout season in his first full season. The 26-year-old spent many years working on his game in the AHL before finally catching on with the Syracuse Crunch in 2014. From there he worked his way up before catching the team’s eye in training camp to win a spot. The result was a 25-goal, 64-point performance and now he has to prove he can duplicate that performance this season to get a big boost in his pay. For $1MM, Gourde may be the best bargain on the team, but he could get pricey quickly.Read more