For quite a few years, the salary cap was not of much concern to Colorado Avalanche fans. The rebuilding team was closer to the salary floor with their bevy of young players on entry-level contracts. That’s not the case anymore. With Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, and Gabriel Landeskog now on expensive long-term deals — and players like Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie set to join them before next season — the team and its followers are now trying to figure out how it’s all going to fit.
Late Thursday evening, we received a report from the Journal De Montreal’s Renaud Lavoie that the NHL Players Association will vote to exercise the 5% escalator clause afforded to them by the CBA.
NHLPA will agree to exercise the escalator clause (5%) but wants to make sure everybody's on board before making it official.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 17, 2016
On the surface, this would appear to increase last year’s $71.4m salary cap by $3.57m — but that’s not considering league revenues could drop that number before the escalator is applied. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported on June 4th the cap could fall all the way to $69.3m due to the weakness of the Canadian dollar and the lack of major market Stanley Cup television ratings. Brooks’ estimate, plus the 5% increase, would put the cap around $72.8m headed into next season.
This would give Colorado just over $20.2m to work with according to General Fanager — money that has to sign MacKinnon and Barrie, as well as other restricted free agents like Calvin Pickard and Mikhail Grigorenko. Does this leave enough room to sign, say, an Alexander Radulov-type player? It just might, especially if Brooks’ figure is on the conservative end. Chances are, though, Joe Sakic is still looking to shed a bit of salary where he can this offseason.