With the addition of players like Stone ($9.5M), Pacioretty ($7M), Stastny ($6.5M), and Gusev ($?), the Vegas Golden Knights face a salary cap problem for the 2019/2020 season. According to CapFriendly.com, the projected NHL salary cap for 2019/2020 is $83M. Unfortunately, they also show that the Knights have already exceeded that amount with just the players that are already signed at $83,125,000! That doesn’t include signings of RFAs like William Karlsson, Nikita Gusev, and Malcolm Subban. So today we are going to talk numbers: where are the Vegas Golden Knights now, how much do they need to add, and how much will they need to cut to stay within the cap.
Probable Cap: $83,000,000
Current Contracts: $82,375,000
(CapFriendly has Curtis McKenzie listed as a rostered player with a cap hit of $750,000. However he has been playing in the AHL this season and his salary hasn’t counted toward the cap. If he continues to play in the AHL, his salary won’t count against the cap this next season either, bringing it down from CapFriendly’s $83,125,000 to $82,375,000… unless we’re missing something- let us know.)
Players on Roster without a 2020 contract*:
*Remember these players’ salaries aren’t counted in our numbers above.
William Karlsson (RFA)– must be offered at least $5.25M to keep his rights. (Qualifying Offer)
Brandon Pirri (UFA)– probably won’t be a Knight next year
Ryan Carpenter (UFA)- probably won’t be a Knight next year
Pierre-Eduard Bellemare (UFA)- wants to stay a Knight. Whether the team wants to keep him more than Nosek, or another member of the third or fourth line remains to be seen. We’ll discuss it in another article.
Nikita Gusev (RFA)- Qualifying offer: $971,250… But the offer will most likely need to be much higher. He will be discussed fully in a separate article.
Tomas Nosek (RFA)- Qualifying offer: $1,010,625
Deryk Engelland (UFA)- Wants to keep playing, but I would bet he would want to stay in Vegas even more. Perhaps he becomes a staff member if not a team member.
Malcolm Subban (RFA)- Qualifying offer: $715,000
To learn about about RFAs and UFAs, click here.
The Knights acquired David Clarkson in 2017 with a salary of $5,250,000. However he has never played a game with the team and his career is presumed to be over due to degenerative discs in his spine. Because of this, he can be put on the Long Term Injured Reserve list and the team can fill his spot/salary on the roster (staying less than or equal to his salary), even if it puts VGK over the cap. So for our purposes, we can subtract his contract from the total and bring us down to $77,125,000. (He could potentially be part of a trade, but the pot would have to be pretty sweet for a team to take that on, and I’m not sure it would be worth it for the VGK)
Effective Cap Hit: $77,125,000 – 11 forwards, 6 defenders, 1 goalie = 18 total. We want 23 total: 12 forwards, 6 defenders, 2 goalies, + 3 scratches (2 forwards, 1 defender) in case of injury.
Assuming we sign Karlsson ($6M), Gusev ($2M-4M), Subban ($700k-800k), Nosek (or similar salaried player at $1M), and one more defender for around $1M – $1.5M, this will add another $11M-13M. This makes us $5M-7M short of cap space, meaning we will have to shed some larger contracts that we already have and fill them with younger players who have smaller contracts.
This week we will explore possible trades and cuts that can help the Vegas Golden Knights stay under cap, but still be cup contenders for 2020.