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Salary Cap Implications For The Golden Knights In The Aftermath Of The Mark Stone Trade

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the dust settles on the Mark Stone trade, it’s time to start looking at the future of the Vegas Golden Knights as it relates to the salary cap.

The salary cap was set at $79,500,000 this season. The normal increase in salary cap from year to year is about 2-5%. Last season the cap increased by $4.5M. It should be expected that the cap increase from this season to next will be in the neighborhood of $4M to $7M.

Thus, we can expect the salary cap to be somewhere around $85,000,000.

According to CapFriendly.com, the best salary cap site on the Internet, the Golden Knights projected cap hit for 2019-20 is $72,875,000 without Stone’s imminent $9.5M AAV extension. So, just with Stone, the Golden Knights are looking at a projected cap hit of just under $82,375,000.

The Golden Knights still have David Clarkson on the roster. His contract can be placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) next season. There are some oddities to that rule, but for simplification sake, Vegas can get around $5.25M in salary cap relief by making this move.

Therefore, if nothing changes, Vegas should have around $7,875,000 left to work with.

William Karlsson, Tomas Nosek, and Malcolm Subban are all RFAs with arbitration rights heading into the offseason. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Carpenter, Brandon Pirri, and Deryk Engelland are all UFAs.

Obviously, the biggest fish to fry is William Karlsson. With just under $8M to work with, it figures that Karlsson will eat up a majority of those dollars.

So, it might be necessary for George McPhee to cut some salary somewhere along the way. Possible options for that would be Ryan Reaves ($2,775,000), Erik Haula ($2,750,000), Cody Eakin ($3,850,000), Nick Holden ($2,200,000), or Jon Merrill ($1,375,000).

Finally, there’s the Nikita Gusev situation. Assuming he does indeed want to come to the NHL next season, he would have to sign an Entry Level Contract worth a maximum of $925,000 with signing bonuses that could theoretically cap his salary at $3,775,000.

There’s plenty of time to figure this all out for McPhee and Co., but there are clearly going to be some difficult decisions coming up.

And if one thing’s for sure, even if that other Karlsson decides San Jose isn’t the place for him, Vegas probably isn’t on the table anymore.

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18 Comments

  1. Sclabuji

    Love that we got Stone but still concerned how we negotiate the summer and next year. Feels like there will be more turnover than the average fan will be happy with.

    If it lands us the ultimate goal for years to come, then I’m all for it.

  2. vgk2019

    Brannstrom is going to report to the Sens Belleville AHL farm team. He is not going to play in the NHL just yet.

  3. Brian

    Talk about BIG GAME hunting…….WOW !! Amazing to see Stone’s numbers to date vs all current Knights. Really going to miss seeing the Brannwagon without the shield in the future.

  4. vgk2019

    it all depends on what certain players do in this year’s playoffs as to who will get dealt in the summer to create cap room.

    nobody has a no movement clause, except Fleury, and only 3 guys have modified no trade clauses, which simply means they pick about 10 teams they will consent to be dealt to.

    the next 20 games, plus especially the playoffs performance, will sort it all out for them.

  5. Mike G

    Let’s say we can’t sign Karlsson now due to salary cap issues. Now you’ve essentially lost Brannstrom, Lindberg, a #2, and William Karlsson for Mark Stone. Good deal??

    • David

      You can’t look at a trade and extension that way.
      We can sign W. Karlsson without a problem. His “down to Earth” year will put him in the 6.5 – 7mil range. We have a strong core group locked up for long term.

  6. Brian S

    Signing Karlsson won’t be an issue, so don’t worry about that. Even if they roll the dice on arbitration again, he’ll still be in the $5.5 to $6.5 range. Ken’s also forgetting that some of the guys counted in that cap hit will either be moved or cut (Zykov and/or Carrier most likely). If Gusev signs that creates even more of a logjam but helps free up some money if they end up trading Eakin, Reaves or Haula.

    Cody Glass will probably be on the team and he’ll only be earning about $1M, so that will help the cap situation as well.

    In other words, I wouldn’t worry, but Ken’s right about VGK not being a player in FA unless something really weird happens.

    • David

      I think Carrier and Zykov stick around due to their cost effectiveness. Sadly Haula becomes difficult to resign after next year and may be moved. But as you mentioned, Glass will be ready for a 3rd line center spot.

    • JAY T

      They can still bring in Gusev and sign E. Karlsson if they let WK walk and trade a few others. If Tampa can stay under the cap with all their studs then I see no reason why the Knights can’t do similar.

  7. Dean

    I thought we may pursue Erik Karlsson in the off season when he’s a free agent, but this move likely negates that possibility. I still like the move though. We acquired an elite talent who wants to be here and and will help us be more competitive in the playoffs both this year and beyond.

  8. Mark

    I hope you are right on the increase, but everything I have seen so far is the cap will be 82-83 million. It is definitely going to be tight next season.

    I am basically personally expecting Eakin and Miller both to be dealt.

    2019/2020 guess

    Marsh/Karlsson/Stone
    Tuch/Statsny/Pacioretty
    Smith/Haula/Gusev
    Reaves/Nosek/Carrier
    Zykov

    Schmidt McNabb
    Theodore Holden
    Merrill Whitecloud
    Bischoff

    Fluery Subban

    One open spot left, hopefully Bellemare re-signs cheap, but I worry he will want Reaves money, and that could be tough.

    • David

      If Eakin and Miller are dealt, you’d have to hope we’d get a serviceable defenseman in return. But our 3rd line has some serious potential.

      • Mark

        You could always re-sign Engllend, Or even a Hunt. But I would rather have Bellemare if it can done to it.

  9. Mrdirtlawyer

    Props to McPhee and upper management for making this move. Defense, coach & vet goalie are all too good not to add proven forward scorer that could push us over the top. Too many GMs play it safe and horde 18-19 year olds on ‘what may be’ rather than going for it (looking at you Dale Tallon). Plus Stone is just hitting his prime. Great move.

  10. Brian

    Carpenter walks for greener pastures ($$$) and Engelland decides to call it a career and move into the Front Office. Merill and Holden will be gone in the off season. Something tells me we’ll more of the AHL guys on the roster next year. JMHO, which doesn’t mean squat. LOL

  11. prospects

    Despite giving up highly-touted defensive prospect Erik Brannstrom and a second-round pick as part of the package to acquire Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators, the Golden Knights still have 17 selections over 2019 and 2020 NHL drafts (including both of their first-round picks and a total of nine inside the first three rounds) to restock and reload as they forge ahead.

  12. Michael Verner Smith

    I was glad it was Brannstrom and not Hague or Whitecloud. Whitecloud is around + 24 and leads the AHL defensemen in +/-. 3rd overall in the league. Hague has height, size, reach and a massive shot, that is hard to find in the NHL. He needs to improve as a skater, but like Brannstrom, has come a long way under Rocky Thompson.

  13. BB

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOSEEEEEE!
    Hope Gusev comes over!

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