With all quiet on the trade front on Tuesday and only one more day until training camp starts, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at the salary cap from a couple different angles.
Small but potentially burdensome error with Jake Gardiner signing
The signing of defenseman Jake Gardiner pushed the Hurricanes up into uncharted waters as a team that shows to be currently above the salary cap on CapFriendly. As I noted in a couple places, the current roster of the Hurricanes is set to squeeze under the salary cap ceiling without needing to a trade. If one counts assumes that one of forwards Brian Gibbons and Clark Bishop head to the AHL along with one of Haydn Fleury or Gustav Forsling on defense, the Hurricanes come in right at the $81,500,000 salary cap ceiling. But therein lies the problem and what I think could prove to be an error in signing Gardiner. The Hurricanes are so tight that if it was Fleury and Bishop heading to the AHL, the team would be over the salary cap limit by literally $5,000. Any other combination would squeeze under but only by less than $100,000. So that math could be workable, but because it is so tight, it could create headaches as the season rolls along. At the maximum, if the Hurricanes need to call up a player to replace another without formally putting the first on injured reserve, the call up would need to have a salary less than the player he replaces. That would not be a problem for replacing a higher cost player, but the Hurricanes also have Wallmark making $675,000 and Foegele at $747,000. Players like Luostarinen, Kuokkanen, Gauthier and Pritchard who have slightly higher cost entry-level deals might not work as swap ins for Wallmark or Foegele. Of course, if the Hurricanes trade Justin Faulk as rumored this week or have a player go on injured reserve, flexibility will be gained. But until that occurs, I feel like the Hurricanes could have gained potentially significant wiggle room if his salary had clocked in just a tiny bit lower. Of course, this potential problem would be resolved immediately if the team trades Justin Faulk of a higher-priced player or if a player with at least a medium salary is injured long-term.
With the Hurricanes right at the salary cap ceiling for the 2019-20 season one might assume that the team will have minimal flexibility for 2020-21 and beyond. That actually is not true. Remember that $6.25 million of this year’s salary cap hit is Marleau. That comes off the books next summer. In addition, the team is still on the hook for $2.33 million for Alexander Semin’s buyout, but that comes off the books for the 2021-22 season. Those two contracts alone would free up $8.5 million without replacement players needing to be signed and paid. That relief is significant with the team needing to sign Foegele and Svechnikov to new contracts for 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively. In addition, James Reimer’s contract expires after the 2020-21 season. That makes for a total of $11.7 million of cap space that will be cleared in time for Svechnikov’s next contract with only a backup goalie slot needing to be back filled.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you think the team’s tightness to the salary cap ceiling will create problems during the 2019-20 season?
2) Who has other salary cap-related subjects to bandy around?