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The Cap Situation

For the 4th straight season, the salary cap in the new, cost-certain NHL is going up. It will now be $56.7 million (or, a little more than $12 million more than the average payroll in the season before the lockout). I thought I'd take a quick look at how the Avalanche are relative to the cap.

It's been reported that the Avs have given qualifying offers to the 4 RFAs on the roster (Svatos, McCormick, McLeod, Wolski), although terms were not announced. If the link I found (and then lost) on RFA rules is correct, McCormick and McLeod had to have been offered 110% of their salary from last year, Wolski needed to be offered 105% and Svatos needed to be offered 100%. That means $522K for McCormick, $524K for McLeod, $990 for Wolski and $1.2M for Svatos. Add those salaries to Parker's $500,000 contract as well as the players already under contract and the Avalanche have $33.2 million committed to 19 players.

That means the Avalanche have just under $23.5 million to spend.  Take $5 million (or so) for Joe Sakic and another $5 for Adam Foote, and suddenly  you're looking at $13 million to spend. With that $13 million, the Avalanche need to add a goalie (starter or backup, depending on how they feel about Peter Budaj), a couple of defensemen and, in my opinion, at least one top 6 winger.

To make it more interesting, the Avalanche need to save some room for the upcoming Stastny extension. While an extension won't affect the cap this year, the Avs don't have many contracts coming off the books next year. Tyler Arnason, Ian Laperriere, Ben Guite and Jordan Leopold are all UFA after this season. While several of you just clapped with joy at the first name, the truth is that all 4 of those guys are on extremely cap-friendly contracts. Any sort of over-extension by Francois Giguere this summer can have serious ramifications down the road.

And now you know why Andrew Brunette's agent hasn't even received a courtesy call this summer or why talks with Jose Theodore and John-Michael Liles haven't amounted to much. Those guys would all need to sign at well below market value to fit into the cap. Last year, Giguere made waves with the signing of Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. I think this year we'll consider it a success if we manage to grab a couple of 2nd-tier guys and keep a few of our free agents.