The 2023-24 Golden Knights roster is taking shape. Reilly Smith was traded during the week to make salary cap space to extend Ivan Barbashev. Adin Hill received a two-year extension on Friday. The free agency period opens at noon Pacific Saturday. Just how much cap space does general manager Kelly McCrimmon have available?
The Golden Knights current projected cap hit is $85.7 million which is about $2.2 million over the cap. Subtract $5 million from Robin Lehner’s salary. It is highly doubtful Lehner factors into the Golden Knights plans for the 2023-24 season, and beyond. Kaeden Korczak and Brayden Pachal are on two-way contracts for the 2023-24 season which totals $1.5 million. That leaves the Golden Knights approximately $4.3 million of cap space to work with.
The Golden Knights have some expiring contracts to work through. Pavel Dorofeyev and Brett Howden are restricted free agents and are expected to get small raises. Dorofeyev made $925,000 and Howden made $1.5 million in the 2022-23 season.
Let’s assume Dorofeyev and Howden total a $2.9 million cap hit for the 2023-24 season, that leaves the Golden Knights approximately $1.4 million of cap space to work with. Dorofeyev could end up with a two-way contract for the 2023-24 season and that would give the Golden Knights $2.5 million of cap space to work with once free agency opens Saturday.
There will be a number of bargain-free agents out there for McCrimmon to kick the tires on. Could another general manager make McCrimmon an offer he can’t refuse on a player like Logan Thompson? It is possible. Remember, no one expected the Smith trade to happen earlier in the week.
It will be interesting to see what happens once free agency opens on Saturday. Does McCrimmon have another ace up his sleeve?