It’s still way too early to really start worrying about what the Golden Knights will look like next season, considering there’s still a Cup to be won this season. Plus, the salary cap for the 2020-21 season remains a mystery.
But with plenty of time to go before the Golden Knights hit the ice and a few contracts hitting the books over the past few weeks, we thought it’s a good time to take a look at the Golden Knights salary cap snapshot to give you an idea of what kind of wiggle room they have to operate with whenever the offseason does get underway.
The current salary cap is $81.5 million, a number the Golden Knights flirted with all season. Heading into next year, they currently have 19 players under contract that are likely to be a part of the 23 man roster. Plus, there’s still that pesky $500,000 cap hit that remains from the Tomas Tatar trade.
Here’s the full breakdown (salary numbers provided by CapFriendly.com).
Forwards (11 – $48,413,333)
Mark Stone – $9,500,000
Max Pacioretty – $7,000,000
Paul Stastny – $6,500,000
William Karlsson – $5,900,000
Reilly Smith – $5,000,000
Jonathan Marchessault – $5,000,000
Alex Tuch – $4,750,000
Ryan Reaves – $1,750,000
William Carrier – $1,400,000
Cody Glass – $863,333
Nicolas Roy – $750,000
Defensemen (7 – $20,866,667)
Nate Schmidt – $5,950,000
Shea Theodore – $5,200,000
Alec Martinez – $4,000,000
Brayden McNabb – $2,500,000
Nick Holden – $1,700,000
Nic Hague – $791,667
Zach Whitecloud – $725,000
Goalies (1 – $7,000,000)
Marc-Andre Fleury – $7,000,000
Retained Salary (1 – $500,000)
Tomas Tatar – $500,000
TOTAL (19 – $76,780,000)
That means there is approximately $5 million to work with in order to fill out the roster.
The first order of business is to re-sign the two NHL level RFA forwards, Chandler Stephenson and Nick Cousins. Both are likely to make more than they did this season, with Stephenson’s number likely to go up more than Cousins’.
RFA’s – Projected Salary (Qualifying Offer) *Both are arbitration eligible*
Chandler Stephenson – $2,000,000 ($1,050,000)
Nick Cousins – $1,250,000 ($1,000,000)
If they sign for what I project them to, the Golden Knights are looking at a 21 man roster (without a backup goalie) that comes in about $1.5 million short of the cap. If they both take their qualifying offers, which is unlikely, Vegas can have a maximum of around $2.7 million of available money.
Considering they must have a backup goalie on the roster, and the league minimum is $700,000 in 2020-21, the Golden Knights currently sit at a cap hit of around $80,730,000, assuming they retain both RFA’s, Cousins and Stephenson.
In other words, unless there are changes, they will have somewhere between $750,000 and $2 million to work with to make decisions on their four UFA’s (Tomas Nosek, Jon Merrill, Deryk Engelland, and Robin Lehner) and the rest of free agency.