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Crunched Golden Knights Will Benefit With Salary Cap Likely Going Up $4 Million+



Bill Foley and Kelly McCrimmon Vegas Golden Knights owner and general manager (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)
Bill Foley and Kelly McCrimmon Vegas Golden Knights owner and general manager (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

For the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, the salary cap is expected to go up in the National Hockey League. With the league earning $5.4 billion in revenue last season, the current projection is that the salary cap could jump up by around $4 million dollars.

“Revenue’s pretty vibrant,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after a meeting of the NHL’s Board of Governors. “The business is good… If we miss it, it’ll be close, and it’ll be next year.”

The league and NHLPA agreed to a flat cap amidst the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The Salary Cap was $81.5 million for two years before it was raised to $82.5 million this year for this season.

Now it looks like the projected salary cap for the 2023-24 NHL season could be around $86 million. For the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that is known for spending up to the cap, this is excellent news.

Golden Knights Cap Breakdown

If $86 million becomes the new cap hit, the current Golden Knights 2023-24 roster would have $10.9 million in available cap space. Removing Robin Lehner from long-term injured reserve leaves the team with $5.9 million.

Phil Kessel’s ($1.5 million), Brett Howden’s ($1.5 million), Adin Hill’s ($2.175 million), Laurent Brossoit’s ($2.325 million), and Nolan Patrick’s ($1.2 million) contracts will all be coming off of the books.

Core Mostly Locked Up

Continuing to look ahead to next year’s roster with this newly added chunk of cash, things look well for the Golden Knight’s core. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, and Alex Pietrangelo will all have three or more years left on their deals at this time.

They also have a lot of up-and-coming young players under contract, as this past offseason saw a lot of Golden Knight’s RFAs. Nicolas Roy, Nicolas Hague, Keegan Kolesar, and Logan Thompson are all staying.

But Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, and Alec Martinez will all be entering contract years. Shea Theodore, at this time, will only have two years left.

Potential Possibilities

Who knows what general manager Kelly McCrimmon will do with this projected cap space. The Golden Knights have been the premier ‘buyers’ on the NHL trade market and in free agency. They have brought in guys like Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Jack Eichel, and Alex Pietrangelo to try and win a Stanley Cup.

But in the process, some tough salary cap decisions have had to be made, such as trading Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Pacioretty for next to nothing.

If managed wisely, the projected $4 million salary cap boost could benefit the Golden Knights and perhaps propel them to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.