Capped: Keeper Leagues and the Rising Salary Cap Ceiling

Eric Daoust




Daoust gives you 12 future salary cap bargains to consider…


We are approaching the anniversary of the end of the NHL’s latest lockout, which came to its conclusion January 12, 2013. Among the new CBA items included a changes to the salary cap rules that had major implications in fantasy leagues. Despite no rollback to existing contracts, the ceiling was dropped to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season. This led to many players having to settle for less than what they could have earned under the old CBA. In fantasy leagues that use player salaries, this created a number of salary cap bargains that are currently playing a key role at a lower cost than many of their peers.


Additionally, the new CBA included a drop in the percentage of revenue going to the players, from 57 under the old agreement to 50. This change has a big impact in keeper leagues as, it would appear, this would slow down the acceleration of the NHL’s salary cap ceiling. But with six outdoor games and a massive television agreement it appears that the ceiling will rise at an even faster rate, starting with a projected rise to $71.1 million next year.


All of this is going to have major implications in the fantasy hockey world. Salaries will continue to rise to record levels. But remember the summer of 2013 when the ceiling was lowered. Some of the multi-year deals signed over the last 12 months are going to carry a ton of value in the years to come. Here are some examples:



A trio of Penguins are producing great numbers in support roles at a good salary. Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Pascal Dupuis were covered seven weeks ago as excellent cap bargains in both one-year and keeper leagues. This will especially hold true for Kunitz ($3.85 million / UFA 2017) and Neal ($5 millon / UFA 2018) as the salary cap continues to rise. Their production rivals many of the league’s elite and owning them allows you to save a few million. In Dupuis’ case, his knee injury at the age of 34 does make him a risk