Three teams have officially hit the Cap ceiling and when you look at their off seasons, there is no surprise here. Now the Cap Salary is a daunting and confusing place so bear with me here as we go through these three teams and the Good, Bad, and Ugly of what’s goin on.
First, the New York Rangers.
The Rangers have a cap hit of $82,406,466 with a projected $906,446 in LTIR.
The Rangers currently have 42 contracts in this hit with 22 men on the roster. They’ve got 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies. Holding the highest stake in the Rangers’ cap at 14.6%, is new forward Artemi Panarin. Panarin just signed with the team with a $11,642,857 cap hit. The next highest paid player is Jacob Trouba at $8 million. After signing Panarin, it was expected that the Rangers would have next to no money left so it’s not a big shock that they’re on this list.
On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Penguins have spread out their $81,657,500 cap hit (with $157,500 LTIR).
The Penguins have more contracts that range between $3 million – $6 million. 11 of their 23 players are spread across that $3 million to $6 million range and it has been what’s helped them become a power house. Now they have a pretty much set roster, with just one RFA unsigned so they could go into the season like this and manage.
Now onto the real mess, Toronto with a $82,234,699 cap hit alongside $734,699 in LTIR. They’ve got 22 roster players with 45 on contract.
Poor Leaf fans have to relive the uncertainty of last season all over again but this time, here is the kicker. The Leafs have hit the ceiling. Although the team just sent Garret Sparks to Vegas in exchange for David Clarkson and a 2020 4th rounder. Getting Clarkson back added $5,250,000 onto the Leafs cap hit and have put them at $0 in cap space. But the Leafs have Clarkson on the LTIR and that gives Dubas space and time to figure some shit out and make room for RFA Mitch Marner.
The Leafs have two players making upwards of $11 million a season, Auston Matthews and John Tavares, so trying to fit another contract like that onto this roster is going to be a move. They could always make more moves with trades but they would risk sending off more talent that they’ve already built up. They’ve got a shit ton of draft picks so it’s not likely that they can trade players for picks and free up cap space.
Kyle Dubas is going to have to wizard a way around this to try and keep Mitch Marner with a number they both like but I have a feeling he can do it.
So for now, the only team likely to try and free up more space will be Toronto. I think the Pitt and NYR are set unless there are small moves here or there.
Featured Image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette