The NHL and NHLPA have announced the team payroll range for the 2016-17 season.
The salary ceiling will be set at $73 million, which is up from $71.4 million last season. The salary cap floor is $54 million while the midpoint of the salary cap is $63.5 million.
NHL teams will need to do some work to either get to the cap floor or get under the cap ceiling. There are currently 11 teams that need some help getting to the cap floor and only one team, the Pittsburgh Penguins that are over the cap. There are teams that don’t have much cap space to do much so they’ll need to make some trades like the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens.
The teams that need to get to the cap floor are the Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. The Coyotes have $19.6 million in cap space just to get to the cap floor while the Devils have $10.4 million to play with before getting to the floor. The other nine teams only have between $120,000-$5.67 million and that includes having to sign their own restricted free agents and try to land some players to improve the team in free agency, which starts on July 1.
The Coyotes could do something similar to last season to get to the cap floor and trade for a big contract even though the player won’t be playing. Last season, they acquired the contract of Chris Pronger to help get to the floor. This season they could acquire the contract of Pavel Datsyuk, who won’t be playing in the NHL next season.
With the salary cap numbers set for next season, it could be a busy NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo. Teams will be looking to make trades to get some cap relief or acquire some big contracts to get to the cap floor.