It's the day before the entry draft and the NHL has been covering a lot of ground for the upcoming 2019 season, most importantly, ahead of the silly season, the salary cap numbers have finally been released and we're in for a big jump.
The NHL and the NHLPA have agreed upon a $79.5 million salary cap ceiling for the upcoming season, which also brings up the salary cap floor to $58.8 million. That's a $4.5 million jump at the top and $4.4 million at the bottom.
Thanks to the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights last season, salary cap strapped teams were able to get some more wiggle room, making some deals with the expansion team, not to forget teams like the Arizona Coyotes taking on some heavy loads as well. This means that there are far less teams in dire straits, when it comes to the salary cap ceiling, but don't get me wrong, there are some teams already projected to be close already.
Even with the added cap space, I currently have five projected rosters for the 2019 season already with less than $10 million in room to move: Pittsburgh, Florida, Los Angeles, Edmonton and Nashville. At the other end of the spectrum, I have nine teams with rosters below the salary cap floor, so they will be active players, once the frenzy begins. Those teams are Vegas, Colorado, Long Island, Arizona, Carolina, Toronto, New York, Vancouver and New Jersey.
This boost to the salary cap ceiling will likely ramp up the negotiation processes for the top unrestricted free agents, which there aren't as many as we've seen in previous years. If John Tavares goes to market though, that could be an all-out bidding war.
Well, now that we know the number, I'm fully expecting to see some fireworks at tomorrow's entry draft!