Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Monday, March 24, 2008

NHL Cap Space--Who will be players this summer?

Below is a rough estimate of how much cap space each NHL team has going into the summer break. I looked at how much money each team has committed to players I expect to be on their roster in 2008-09 according to www.NHLcap.com--note that this does not include pay raises that much be given to restricted free agents. For the RFA I put in their current salary amount because that is the minimal salary commitment required for qualifying offers. In most cases they will make more money (such as Kari Lehtonen on the Thrashers).

So again consider these just a rough approximation of who has room under the cap. I expect the cap to hit $54.5 million next year according to people over at the Business of Hockey Board at HFboards who have spent a lot of time discussing this.

As you can see the Thrashers are in great cap shape heading into the summer in 2nd place in projected room under the cap. They have roughly four roster spots to fill. Some teams like Pittsburgh, Colorado and Calgary have a lot of room but they also have MANY slots to fill in.

I don't expect to see the team spend right up to the cap, since that gets you into trouble (see Philadelphia at the bottom) but I will point out that they probably will have more money available than any other team in the SE Division (divisional opponents in italics) even if they don't max out.


Cap Room/UFA slots/ Team Name
$30 5 Columbus
$25 4 Atlanta
$24 7 Colorado
$22 3 NY Islanders
$21 4 Phoenix
$21 9 Pittsburgh
$19 5 Vancouver
$18 5 LA Kings
$18 1 Nashville
$17 6 Minnesota
$17 6 NY Rangers
$17 3 Tampa Bay
$17 2 Montreal
$16 4 Carolina
$15 4 Detroit
$14 3 Buffalo
$13 1 Florida
$13 3 St. Louis
$13 1 Washington
$13 2 Toronto
$13 5 Chicago
$12 5 Ottawa
$12 2 NJ Devils
$12 3 Edmonton
$11 6 Dallas
$11 8 Calgary
$10 2 San Jose
$08 1 Boston
$03 1 Anaheim
$00 2 Philadelphia

Which teams are in a position to make a play for an expensive NHL unrestricted free agent this summer? Well one way to look at that question is to take the available cap space and divide it by empty roster slots.

Two divisional rivals Florida and Washington are well positioned to make a big splash if they want to, however, Florida usually keeps their payroll low. Washington on the other hand could go crazy if their owner wants to be a contender now.

1. $18 Nashville
2. $13 Florida
3. $13 Washington
4. $8 Montreal
5. $7 Boston
6. $7 NY Islanders
7. $6 Toronto
8. $6 Atlanta
9. $6 NJ Devils
10 $6 Columbus
11 $6 Tampa
12 $5 Phoenix
13 $5 San Jose
14 $5 Buffalo
15 $4 St. Louis
16 $4 Carolina
17 $4 Edmonton
18 $ 4 Vancouver
19 $4 Detroit
20 $4 LA Kings
21 $3 Colorado
22 $3 Minnesota
23 $3 Anaheim
24 $3 NY Rangers
25 $3 Chicago
26 $2 Ottawa
27 $2 Pittsburgh
28 $2 Dallas
29 $1 Calagary
30 $0 Philadelphia

The Thrashers are positioned to make a big splash this summer. They key is spending the money on the right guys of course. I'll write more about how I would like to see the team target later.

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