2011-12 NHL Salary Cap

As many of you know the salary cap has been raised for the 2011-12 NHL season.  This can help many teams to keep players they want or to lure in free agents.  But with this it also means that the salary floor has been raised, and this can hurt several teams.  The cap last season was set at $59.4 million and the floor was $43.4 million.  This season both the cap and floor were raised; the cap is now $64 million and the floor $48 million.

Now when a salary cap is raised many fans believe that it’s a good thing.  For example it would have been a great thing for the Chicago Blackhawks after their Cup run.  They had to dump many players like Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel just so they could stay under the cap and sign their stars to bigger contracts in order to keep their core.  But the thing that most usually don’t think about is the salary floor.  There are several teams that don’t make a ton of money struggle to meet this floor and still take home a profit.

One such team that had to make a few deals to reach the floor was the Florida Panthers.  There was almost a laughable deal that took place, the one that sent d-man Brian Campbell (from Chicago) and his $7 million cap hit to Florida for Rotislav Olesz and his $3.125 deal.  This was almost a necessary deal for Florida to meet the floor.  After the deal they still had about $24 million to spend to get there.  They then signed Tomas Fleischman and Scottie Upshall to identical 4 year $18 million deals, Tomas Kopecky, Jose Theodore, Matt Bradley, Sean Bergenheim, Ed Jovanowski, and Marcel Goc.  I believe Florida will put a better team on the ice than they have the last few seasons, but when you’re losing money that doesn’t mean a lot.  No one goes to sporting events on in South Beach.  The Miami Heat just had LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, and people still weren’t even showing up for the NBA Finals games.  You see the Marlins on TV and there is no one there.  No one goes to Dolphins games either.

I can solve the problem though, they should just trade and get Olli Jokinen back…
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Here are some other teams that should be taking on salary before the season starts in order to comply with the new floor; Colorado, Phoenix, Winnipeg, NY Islanders, Edmonton, Dallas, Nashville, and St. Louis.  Edmonton and Winnipeg are probably in the best positions to still make money.  Winnipeg has no problem they sold out of season tickets in about 12 seconds; it’s as if the hockey starved fans there forgot that the team wasn’t actually that good last year.

The opposite applies to many other teams.  The raise of the cap is a good thing.  It allowed the NY Rangers to sign Brad Richards.  The Kings to take on a trade with the Flyers to get Mike Richards.  James Wisniewski received a huge deal for a defenseman that doesn’t play a lot of defense.  This probably allows the Devils to re-sign Parise.  It will help the Ducks keep their beastly top line together.

With this increase it allows for role players to receive more money.  Several players just filed for arbitration.  Arbitration is when a player is a restricted free agent and they cannot agree to a deal with a team because they think they deserve more money, they will file for arbitration and it could lead to a hearing, often going in the players favor.  When they are “awarded” a higher salary the team they were restricted to must match that amount, otherwise the player can test unrestricted free agency.  The main players that have filed so far are the Blackhawks’ Viktor Stalberg and Chris Campoli, and the Rangers Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Michael Sauer.  These players will more than likely  win in their meetings and will be awarded more money.

There are more than likely a few other blockbusters to come as several of those teams mentioned above try to meet the salary floor.  Just remember because of the floor, some teams will be fooled into giving players like Tomas Kaberle money to be on their team, cough Carolina cough.  Glad you can meet the floor though.  Be on the lookout for high contract players to be traded.