The NHL Player’s Association announced Tuesday that they will be once again triggering the five percent escalator clause in the CBA which will bring the 2015-2016 salary cap to 71.4 million dollars. That’s a two million dollar increase over last year.
The Canadiens are now in a semi-comfortable position under the cap. “Semi-comfortable” means they have room to sign the three players they need to fill out their NHL roster but, at the same time they will have little subsequent emergency wriggle-room.
As it stands twenty of their twenty-three player roster is under contract at a total of 66.4 million dollars. It leaves 4.95 million in cap space.
Alex Galchenyuk will probably take up half of that. Forward Brian Flynn, who is a restricted free agent could probably expect something in the neighbourhood of 900 thousand. That would leave around a million for perhaps one of the Canadiens entry level prospects.
I think it’s safe to assume that Marc Bergevin is no different than most of the fiscally responsible GM’s in prefering to leave himself a couple of million under cap leaving flexibility to make in-season trades or take care of emergency injury issues. As it stands now, Bergevin would come up hard against the 71.4 million ceiling which is why most outside the Habs front office are predicting a salary-shedding trade of some sort between now and training camp. The most often mentioned names are Alexei Emelin (although he has a no-trade contract) and P.A. Parenteau who has one year remaining on a contract that calls for 4.4 million.
Along with Galchenyuk and Flynn on their NHL roster, the Canadiens also have five of their AHL players eligible to become restricted free agents on July first. Being offered two-way contracts are defenceman Jarred Tinordi plus forwards Michael Bournival, Christian Thomas, Eric Tangradi and Drayson Bowman. If signed, most, if not all of them will be heading for the St. John’s IceCaps to continue their development.