The NHL salary cap is rumoured to be getting a massive bump over the next few years, and it is going to benefit the Calgary Flames immensely.
Per Elliotte Friedman, after years of mostly a flat cap, in a few seasons the league is going to see a massive shift in this number.
For the next four seasons, this is what the salary cap may look like:
|Season||Possible Salary Cap|
|2023–24||$83.5M (Potential for $87.5M**)|
|2024–25||$87.5M – $88M|
In just four years from now, the cap is expected to increase nearly $10M from its current limit. A welcome sigh of relief for those teams with long-term cap commitments looking for a little breathing room.
The Calgary Flames are most likely going to be one of those teams that desperately needs that space as the time approaches.
**Update 10/18/2022: It was announced today during the NHL Board of Governors meetings that if the escrow debt is able to be paid off this season by the players, which seems likely, the salary cap could increase by over $4M next season. Source: Pierre LeBrun on Twitter
According to CapFriendly, this is how the Flames cap commitments break down over those seasons:
|Season||Roster Size||# of Standard Player Contracts||Projected Cap Hit||Projected Cap Space|
|2024–25||6||10||$38,750,000||$45,750,000 + (Projected $3,000,000-$3,500,000 = $48,750,000 – $49,250,000|
|2025–26||5||5||$32,950,000||$51,550,000 + Projected $7,500,000 = $59,050,000|
Starting off with this season, the Flames have a few minor deals to make with Sonny Milano and a few other PTO players that may impact their final numbers. This year’s cap has been known for a while.
Next season, the rumored $1M cap increase looks to remain consistent with Friedman’s report. With the addition of Jonathan Huberdeau’s new contract, combined with Milan Lucic’s cap hit coming off the board, the Flames currently have just over $9M in space to work with. A decent chunk of that will hopefully go towards MacKenzie Weegar’s new contract, but there still should be some room after that. The only other major signings that need to happen next year are Juuso Valimaki and Dan Vladar, assuming they are both on the team.
The real change will come prior to the 2024–25 season. The Flames have the following players who will be in need of a new contract:
- Mikael Backlund
- Elias Lindholm
- Tyler Toffoli
- Dillon Dube
- Jakob Pelletier
- Adam Ruzicka
- Noah Hanifin
- Chris Tanev
- Nikita Zadorov
- Oliver Kylington
- Kevin Rooney
Essentially the entire team.
Originally, it was projected that the team would have around $45.75M of cap space to resign all of those players, if the team wanted, which is clearly not enough. Add in the new projections and the team will be getting approximately $3–3.5M more. Absolutely enough room to fit one of the players that may have been on the bubble.
Lindholm and Hanifin are the two players that will absolutely be getting raises compared to their current cap hits, and hopefully Dube, Pelletier, and Kylington will be as well, but most of the rest may be reaching the “veteran” parts of their career and looking for similar deals. Depending on how much Lindholm and Hanifin take up, there may not be room for all of the players, but absolutely more room than they had before.
Finally, the 2025–26 season looks to be getting up into the $92M cap hit range, which is $7.5M more than originally expected. That seems like a perfect time for Andrew Mangiapane to be up on his current deal he just signed, but also a perfect time for the Flames to re-sign the winger with a bit more flexibility.
All in all, the salary cap going up helps the Flames in the long term absorb the big contracts of Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, while also allowing for a bit more flexibility for a precarious 2025 offseason.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire