NHL Teams Ranked By Cap Space


The fact that the salary cap has changed the NHL landscape is something that anyone who follows hockey is constantly reminded of. For the Western Canadian teams, that salary cap was once something worth fighting for; but a number of factors – most importantly, the recovery of the Canadian dollar – have changed it from a blessing to a curse.
None of this is to say that NHL teams don’t need it. The league will always have small markets, and they need to be protected – both by measures like a salary cap and by revenue sharing*. The league will also always have the New York Rangers, and for the good of all Glen Sather needs the restraint.

With teams like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton all relatively close to the salary cap, it’s easy to get the impression that every team is battling cap issues. That turns out to not to be the case; what follows is a list of cap space available to each club, rounded to the nearest 100,000 (courtesy of CapGeek.com):

  • New York Islanders: 18.7MM
  • Nashville: 15.3MM
  • Phoenix: 14.1MM
  • Tampa Bay: 11.9MM
  • Columbus: 11.5MM
  • Dallas: 10.5MM
  • Atlanta: 10.4MM
  • Los Angeles: 9.4 MM
  • Colorado: 9.0MM
  • St. Louis: 8.8MM
  • Florida: 7.7MM
  • New Jersey: 5.2MM
  • Minnesota: 4.2MM
  • Anaheim: 4.1MM
  • Buffalo: 3.3MM
  • Vancouver: 2.7MM
  • New York Rangers: 2.5MM
  • Montreal: 2.2MM
  • Carolina: 2.2MM
  • Toronto: 2.2MM
  • Pittsburgh: 1.8MM
  • Calgary: 1.4MM
  • Chicago: 1.4MM
  • Washington: 1.3MM
  • Edmonton: 1.2MM
  • Boston: 1.1MM
  • Philadelphia: 0.4MM
  • San Jose: -0.3MM
  • Ottawa: -0.6MM
  • Detroit: -1.0MM

Of note:

Nashville has a limited amount of payroll, but they will need to add at least one more defenseman (they have six NHL’ers, and the bottom three is a rather pedestrian group (Kevin Klein, Alex Sulzer and Wade Belak). On top of that, Patric Hornqvist (7 points in 28 NHL games) is penciled in as the second-line LW.

Columbus has been connected rumours-wise to virtually every offensive defenseman available; they’ll need to add a puck-mover at some point. Given the Howson-Edmonton connection, it’s a fairly easy leap to guess they’ll add someone from the Oilers’ stable.

Dallas could also probably use a defenseman; their forward combinations aren’t bad but the loss of Zubov to injury was bad news last year and his departure in favour of the KHL is worse news this year.

Dany Heatley’s dream of playing for the San Jose Sharks is all but impossible unless the Sharks somehow manage to cut salary.

I, like everybody else, am firmly convinced of the genius of Ken Holland, but the Red Wings signing Todd Bertuzzi and Jason Williams pushes them over the cap, and they’ll need to address that before the season starts.

* Tony Gallagher, a columnist who covers the Vancouver Canucks, displayed a delicious blind spot for irony when he recently complained that the NHL’s revenue sharing system was helping the Canucks lose games. It’s ironic because less than a decade ago, the Canucks were described as “losing millions”, “in flux” and Brian Burke was saying positive things about only losing 12 million dollars per season. I think it takes an almost total ignorance of the past twenty years for anyone who covers a team in Western Canada to argue against protection measures for small markets.

  • Not sure what is worse not making the plaoffs and being in the top 10 or not having a single franchise player and being inside the top 10. Tampa has 3 potentially 4 franchise players and 10+ mil to spend!

  • DangerMan wrote:

    if Regier has forgiven Edmonton for the Vanek fiasco.

    At this point based on the current contract values he should thank Lowe for the Vanek contract. a 40 goal scorer for 7.1 signed through 2014 sounds almost like a bargin!!

  • olderthendirt wrote:

    Need one more stat with the cap room, how many more NHL quality players do the teams need to start the season. Seems to me some teams may have to use an AHL 4th line.

    Ohh the irony does this mean that because the Oilers have everyone signed that we don't have to start the season with a AHL 4th line. At this point I will take Phillys issues any day of the week.

  • @ Jonathan, thx … saw Derek's article and with a little work, I can use stats to show Penner is really the Queen of England. The man has shown disregard for his teammates, coaches and fans, proven inflexible and unwilling to learn new roles and the contract, that he readily accepted (along with the attached expectations), is the one very noticeable problem for the Oilers. Other players (Horc) might be slightly overpaid, but Horcoff is incredibly valuable in all situations. Penner? … I guess he's good at being big and screening the goalie.