This week we’re going to be reviewing some cap notes for each NHL team before the trade deadline. Skip to your favourite team or peruse them all and be ready for anything come deadline day!
Hopefully this doesn’t get too outdated between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon… Cap info from Cap Friendly.
Anaheim Ducks – Deadline Cap Space: $552,044
A new head coach, and Patrick Eaves being waived is just the tip of the iceberg out on the West Coast. Jakob Silfverberg seems to have an extension all but officially signed which would really put the Ducks in a salary cap bind for next year. Silf’s rumoured deal is five years in length at an AAV of $5+ million. My prediction model has him signing a five-year deal worth closer to $4 million per season. Stay away cap-leaguers.
Arizona Coyotes – Deadline Cap Space: $29,539,860
Half of their forward core is in need of a new contract for next year. Lots of flexibility here for some bold moves, and we know GM Chayka doesn’t shy away from those.
The Coyotes currently also have almost $23 million on the IR. That includes Dave Bolland, whose contract is somehow still hanging around.
Boston Bruins – Deadline Cap Space: $18,584,292
What I had written before Wednesday night’s trade: “Without David Pastrnak, either the depth wingers step up, or get replaced by deadline rentals. The Rick Nash trade last year still stings, so the Bruins may be a little more tentative with the big fish this year. I would expect a middle tier forward or two. In the meantime, Jake DeBrusk is looking good on a cheap contract in Pastrnak’s absence.”
Seems like I spoke too soon, and the Bruins found their guy in Charlie Coyle.
Buffalo Sabres – Deadline Cap Space: $14,935,860
I am very curious as to what Linus Ullmark gets on his next contract. He has been more of a starter than Carter Hutton has the second half of this season. However, a few other goalies in similar situations (Pheonix Copley, Casey DeSmith, & Colin Delia) have gotten three-year contracts with an AAV of about $1 million. If Ullmark gets any more than a $2 million AAV, I would expect 50+ starts next season.
Not much is expected of the Sabres at the trade deadline.
Calgary Flames – Deadline Cap Space: $5,766,823
This is quite the interesting goalie situation, made a little bit better by the fact that Arizona is still paying a third of Mike Smith’s salary. The odds Calgary could get Columbus to hold onto half of Bobrovsky’s salary to facilitate a deal is low, so bringing in a real upgrade may not be in the cards this year.
Carolina Hurricanes – Deadline Cap Space: $76,257,089
It’s safe to say Carolina won’t use up all of their deadline cap space this year. However, getting Jordan Staal back will be a nice boost, and after the Nino Niederreiter trade worked so well, we may yet see a few more good old-fashioned hockey deals from the ‘Canes due to their salary flexibility.
Chicago Blackhawks – Deadline Cap Space: $21,173,677
It’s amazing the difference a month can make. The Blackhawks of today actually look this they have some solid depth and are getting solid goaltending (Monday’s game against Ottawa not included). This has turned the team back into a possible buyer, as Minnesota is fading out of that eighth playoff spot. Swapping one of Marcus Kruger or Artem Anisimov for an upgrade at forward is likely their current biggest need outside of a healthy Corey Crawford.
Colorado Avalanche – Deadline Cap Space: $53,635,090
The top line has gone cold, and they really need some depth scoring. Just like in fantasy hockey, you can’t win anything with only three good players. With half of their roster due new contracts, two first round picks (possibly both in the lottery), and a playoff spot fading faster by the day, don’t expect the Avs to be quiet come deadline day.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Deadline Cap Space: $28,769,485
Along with Ottawa, they are going to be setting the market with their UFAs. However, Columbus also has a solid team this year, and could really be looking to add instead of subtract come deadline day. A second-pairing left-handed defenceman would slot in very well on this squad.
Dallas Stars – Deadline Cap Space: $2,717,500
With the big duo of Jaime Benn and Tyler Seguin set to earn a combined almost $20 million next year as Seguin’s extension kicks in, their current second-highest paid player Jason Spezza is really not living up to his price tag. If GM Jim Nill could turn that cap hit into two productive pieces at the deadline, this team would look a lot more like one that could pull an upset in the first round of the playoffs.
Detroit Red Wings – Deadline Cap Space: $4,238,873
Already with 11 picks in the entry draft the June, that number looks to be even higher after the 25th of February. Players farther down the depth chart such as Michael Rasmussen and Christopher Ehn could see increased offensive opportunities if UFAs Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Vanek are shipped out.
Edmonton Oilers – Deadline Cap Space: $2,021,276
Jesse Puljujarvi really hasn’t been given a great opportunity to succeed at the NHL level, but this makes it a great time to buy on the young winger. As an RFA, a bridge deal looks likely, with the player wanting to bet on himself, and the future signing team not wanting to commit too much long term. A fourth- or fifth-year breakout from the 20-year-old will make fantasy and real-life owners quite happy.
Florida Panthers – Deadline Cap Space: $11,635,258
Trading for both Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky is looking more and more unlikely, however the Panthers do look to be gearing up to be one of the busiest deadline day teams. Prospects, picks, salary, forwards, defence, and goalies could all be parts of the pieces moving out. Coming in are likely pieces that will make a larger impact next year.
Los Angeles Kings – Deadline Cap Space: $8,834,870
Everyone thought David Clarkson’s contract was untradeable, but anyone can be moved if you’re creative enough. Since Jake Muzzin was shipped out, things have gone quiet in LA. They don’t have a good team this year, and they don’t have much flexibility with the cap this year or next. With Carl Hagelin the only player on an expiring contract with an AAV of $1 million or more, some players with term are also likely to be shipped out. That could be a bit more of a theme around the league this year, started by the Nick Bjugstad and Muzzin deals.
Minnesota Wild – Deadline Cap Space: $9,759,932
With a few untimely injuries, the wild are going from buyers to sellers, starting with the exodus of Charlie Coyle. Eric Staal becomes an excellent trade chip, and the young forwards (Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, Ryan Donato and others) may finally be able to find some ice time.
What does E. Staal get on his next contract? Over/Under a $5 million AAV for three years? Have a say in the comments.
Montreal Canadiens – Deadline Cap Space: $43,017,750
Not many pundits expected Montreal to be sitting in a playoff spot this time of the year. A return to form from Carey Price, along with some solid contributions from the top skaters, has put Montreal solidly in fourth in the Atlantic, battling with Pittsburgh and Carolina for the two Wildcard slots. This dark horse team come playoff time could also be a dark horse for some of the second-tier deadline pieces. A power winger such as Wayne Simmonds, or a centre like E. Staal would go a long way towards lengthening the forward group.
Nashville Predators – Deadline Cap Space: $29,083,839
With the cap space, and the incentive to make a big splash after last season’s second-round exit, the Predators are a good bet to be one of the bigger buyers on the 25th. Top prospect Eeli Tolvanen could be the main piece going back the other way for a big rental, and he stands to greatly benefit from a change of scenery. With the depth and experience of the Predators forward group, he can’t seem to make it into the lineup with any regularity. Now would be the best time to buy in a dynasty league, before his value jumps with a trade.
New Jersey Devils – Deadline Cap Space: $64,875,270
Currently with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, the UFAs will be on the trade block, but could we see a bigger move involving someone under contract like Andy Greene, or Sami Vatanen? With such a high number of NHL teams looking for NHL defencemen, don’t count out the possibility.
New York Islanders – Deadline Cap Space: $47,131,837
Three of their four highest paid forwards are UFAs, as is starting goalie Robin Lehner. This team may see quite a few moving pieces in the summer, but deadline moves may be limited to not rock the ship they have sailing so smoothly right now. Turning UFA Jordan Eberle into a more well-rounded winger may be the best course of action for the Islanders.
New York Rangers – Deadline Cap Space: $9,695,641
After the letter to the fan base last year, explaining the intent to rebuild quickly, the Rangers look to be on pace for much of the same this year. They have a few solid young pieces on forward that should be able to flourish alongside Mika Zibanejad to close out this year and starting out next season. UFAs like Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Adam McQuaid will likely see their value drop after the trade deadline due to reduced roles.
Ottawa Senators – Deadline Cap Space: $33,344,094
Sitting Matt Duchene on Tuesday means he’s likely all but gone from Ottawa. There is no chance Ottawa recoups the same quality or quantity as what they gave up to get him. That being said, Ottawa’s exodus of UFAs means some of their under-heralded depth players like Chris Tierney, Zack Smith, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will get a larger share of the offensive pie. All three have also been solid in multi-category leagues too, and could add a lot of value in those leagues for the stretch run, each earning around $3 million.
Philadelphia Flyers – Deadline Cap Space: $36,821,062
The Flyers have three goaltenders, one of the more attractive rental chips (Simmonds), some high caliber prospects in the system, and a skilled core already in place. This is not a team looking for a first rounder. New GM Chuck Fletcher should be targeting NHL-ready prospects that can support the core already in place. Getting back someone like Jordan Kyrou in a package would make a lot of sense. With a couple shrewd moves, this is a playoff team next year.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Deadline Cap Space: $2,295,826
With only Marcus Pettersson and Zach Aston-Reese as largely relevant players in need of new contracts, the core is likely to stay intact long term, barring a playoff miss this season. Since the Penguins are so close to missing, and they lack the deadline cap space to make the easy moves, Jim Rutherford is going to have to get creative to make further additions. However, with Olli Maatta out at least a month, activating him after the playoffs have started could give the Penguins space to add one more impact depth forward.
San Jose Sharks – Deadline Cap Space: $4,402,997
San Jose’s big fish, Erik Karlsson, is eligible for an eight-year extension after the deadline. There hasn’t been a leak of a deal being done already, however, it will be interesting to see if the extension gets announced soon after.
Another small move or two may be expected, but without any top prospects, and no first rounder, the Sharks may have tied their own hands for deadline day.
St. Louis Blues – Deadline Cap Space: $5,179,863
The Blues have a lot of prospect capital to play with, and with the massive win-streak they are on, may look to add in order to keep the momentum running. A power winger like Simmonds would fit, as it appears there is no glaring need for help anywhere else on the roster.
How much fun would it be if Seattle could start making trades way ahead of time?
Tampa Bay Lightning – Deadline Cap Space: $7,938,466
Could the team on pace to tie the all-time wins record in a single season get even better? Tampa has the space, the incentive, and the prospect capital to go after a big fish like Panarin, Ferland, or Stone. With their cap crunch for next year a looming dark cloud, it seems that if the Bolts were to make a deal, it would be for a UFA at season’s end.
Tampa is also only one contract away from the maximum of 50, meaning they may look to move a minor league contract or two out to free up the space. Since their second rounder is now property of the Rangers (becomes a first if they win the Cup) they don’t have the draft picks to make a deal happen without involving prospects anyways.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Deadline Cap Space: $20,087,502
With Auston Matthews out of the way, signing Mitch Marner and getting some cost certainty there would be a bonus. In the meantime, the Leafs don’t have much cap space to play with, having to leave some extra wiggle room at the top for the boatload of bonuses to be pair out to the aforementioned pair. A top-pair right-handed defenceman is still on the wish-list, but unless Morgan Rielly suddenly switches handedness, it may be more of a pipe dream than a reality.
Vancouver Canucks – Deadline Cap Space: $39,668,373
In recent days, the Canucks have traded for Ryan Spooner and Marek Mazanek, while signing Michael Leighton. None of those are going to have a big, long-term impact, and they show that Vancouver is treading water, waiting for the development of a few future stars in their system. They are currently just outside the playoff picture, but realistically they aren’t buying. On the flip side, they don’t have much to sell either. It will likely be another quiet deadline out in Western Canada.
Vegas Golden Knights – Deadline Cap Space: $16,497,033
Alex Tuch has to be one of my favourite young players in the league right now, and he’s signed to a very friendly seven-year deal. Thanks to his emergence, Vegas may not have to go out and overpay for another depth forward like they did with Tatar last season. The biggest thing may be getting a veteran backup to reliably spell starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Brian Elliott could be a fit here. Then again, it is Vegas, and boldness is ingrained in this city. Maybe they decide that a package of Simmonds and Elliott is worth parting with their excess of draft picks again this year.
Washington Capitals – Deadline Cap Space: $1,101,060
With little cap space to make a move, it will be salary-in, salary-out for the Caps at the deadline this year. It appears as though they see the best way of doing that to be moving out Andre Burakovsky, who hasn’t really gotten a fair shake in the top-six this season. Moving to a new team could see him flourish through the last quarter of the season. A winger like Mats Zuccarello could be a good fit in a swap for Burakovsky, and after waiving Devante Semith-Pelly on Wednesday, the Caps may have just enough space to make it work.
Winnipeg Jets – Deadline Cap Space: $25,594,790
I have had Kevin Hayes pegged for the Jets’ second line centre slot since last summer. It still fits the bill, but it sounds as though that may not be the only hole Winnipeg is trying to fill. A bold move to acquire someone like Stone on top of Hayes would really launch them up to being the favourites to come out of the Western Conference.
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
Previous Capped articles:
Future Building Blocks as Trade Targets – Forwards