By JD Lagrange – NHL commissioner Gary Bettman informed the league Board of Governors yesterday that the salary cap is on track to reach $87.7 million for 2024-25. The cap is currently at $83.5 million and has been flattened since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The $4.2 million increase is in line with the “lag formula” contained in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between the NHL and NHL Players Association coming out of the pandemic. The two sides can negotiate for a higher formula, something NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh hinted at during a recent interview with Frank Seravalli.
While this increase will affect each and every NHL team, the Montreal Canadiens, who have been struggling with cap issues for several years now, could finally find some breathing room. And that’s not only due to the cap being raised.
Tanner Pearson ($3.25M), Sean Monahan ($1.895M) and Chris Wideman ($762,500) are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents (UFA) at the end of the season.
However, Samuel Montembeault’s $3.15M contract will be kicking in next season, up from the $1M he’s currently making. And as there will only be one year left to Joel Armia’s contract, Kent Hughes could decide to buy him out if he can’t find a trade partner.
Let’s also not forget that the Canadiens are retaining $1.75M off Joel Edmundson’s contract, and are still paying $833,333 for Karl Alzner’s buyout. Both those end at the end of this season.
Jesse Ylönen, Justin Barron, Arber Xhekaj, Gustav Lindström, Mattias Norlinder and Cayden Primeau are the organization’s only pending restricted free agents (RFA). Off of those, only Xhekaj and Barron aren’t entitled to arbitration but Barron is the one right now in the best negotiating position due to his great start to the season.
What does this all mean for the team? Let’s have a look…
|Salary Cap||$83.5M||$87.7M||+ 4.2M|
|Tanner Pearson||$3.25M||–||+ $3.25M|
|Sean Monahan||$1.895M||–||+ $1.895M|
|Chris Wideman||$762,500||–||+ $762,500|
|Sam Montembeault||$1M||$3.15M||– 2.15M|
|Joel Armia||$3.4M||$866,667||+ $2.53M|
|Joel Edmundson||$1.75M||–||+ 1.75M|
|Karl Alzner||$833,333||–||+ 833,333|
That’s right. The Canadiens would add $13 million in additional cap space for next season, with a handful of RFAs to sign. Now talk about a good chunk of change for Hughes to go shopping with, either through trades or via the free agency market. And that includes the possibility of re-signing Monahan if he decides to do so.
That is also not counting Carey Price’s LTIR money, with the potential of adding another $10.5M!
When you see names like William Nylander, Sam Reinhart, Jake Guentzel and Teuvo Teräväinen and Elias Lindholm as pending UFAs, it makes things rather interesting, doesn’t its it?
And as you can see, Brendan Gallagher and Josh Anderson’s contracts won’t be hurting the team too much, will they?