After the recent Tony DeAngelo signing, the Carolina Hurricanes have less than $1million in salary cap space. That is well.. not a lot. In fact, it’s barely the league minimum to sign a player. So what’s the deal? What now? How did we get our budget maxed out?
Well, firstly, lets talk about salary cap. The salary cap this year is $83.5 million. That is a $4 million increase since the 2018-2019 season, or 5 years ago. To put in perspective of how little it has gone up, it is expected to be $87.5 million or $4 million higher next season.
The salary cap is a derivative of NHL proceeds. Because of c**** and the lockdowns, NHL did not have nearly the proceeds they would/should have. Because of that revenue not increasing, caps have not gone up as expected, and the big contracts that were handed out back in 2019 that would have been less of a cap hit as time went on, turned out to be a larger piece of the “pie” than likely anticipated.
It could always be worse. It could be like the Lightening are projected over cap and have one draft pick in the first four rounds for the next draft. And to be honest, it probably couldn’t be much better. Sure, we didn’t sign Vladimir Tarasenko or trade for Erik Karlsson (though beyond cap issues rumors are San Jose is asking a lot). But the Canes made great signings without those two.
The Hurricanes made huge free agent signings. They signed roughly $19.7 million worth of free agents this offseason; none bigger than Dmitry Orlov taking up over 9% of the total available cap space on the season. That is good enough for second most expensive player on the entire roster, behind Sebastian Aho.
So while the Hurricanes might be capped out, they haven’t tapped out this offseason. Because they don’t have much cap space, it likely means a trade or two is coming. And if they want somebody good, they’re gonna cost something. And if who they get is going to cost something, the Canes are going to have to give something up in return to stay under cap.