The announcement came in June that the salary cap in the National Hockey League was going up for the 2017-2018 campaign. The NHL Players Association used their escalator clause, raising it to $75 million per team. The salary floor is at $55.4 million for everyone including the Vegas Golden Knights.
Every team has one player that bails them out when the remaining skaters make a mistake in their coverage, and it is the goaltender. Let’s take a look at the salary cap of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of their Metropolitan Division rivals to see what they have invested in the men who stand between the pipes.
Pittsburgh Penguins: With two Stanley Cups under his belt and 1,896 saves over 65 NHL career matchups, Matt Murray, 23, appears to be the bargain of the Metro at $3,750,000. He will not become a restricted free agent till the 2020-2021 campaign.
Veteran Antti Niemi checks in at $700,000 while 22-year-old Tristan Jarry if he is called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to fill in, takes home $630,833. The Pens, per CapFriendly.com, are currently $2,000,968 under the cap.
Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby owns a career 2.31 goals-against-average, and a .922 save percentage and is the fourth highest paid player on the Caps at $6.1 million. The trio of Alex Ovechkin at $9,538,462, Evgeny Kuznetsov at $7,800,000, and Nicklas Backstrom at $6,700,000 are ahead of the Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native at the pay window.
The backup is Philipp Grubauer, who makes $1,500,000. The 25-year-old German from Rosenheim will be a qrestricted free agent next season. The D.C. Gang has just $29,114 in expected cap space..
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist is the highest paid member of the Blue Shirts at $8,500,000, $700,000 more than Rick Nash.The 35-year-old Swede has 746 career NHL meetings in the rearview mirror.
Ondrej Pavelec is the reserve and earns $1,300,000. The native of Kladno in the Czech Republic native signed with the Rangers in July 2017 after a decade with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets. The Madison Square Garden crew lists $1,788,862 in accessible cap space.
New York Islanders: Jaroslav Halak is in the last year of a four-year deal that pays him $4,500,000. If the Isles can pry 2014 draft pick Ilya Sorokin away from CSKA Moscow in the KHL next season, it could be Halak’s last stand at the Barclay Center.
Former Penguin backup netminder Thomas Greiss is not that far behind Halak as his check clears at $3,333,333. He brings a 4.38 GAA to the ice after two games played this season. The Blue and Orange are looking at $1,907,501 in spare cap space.
Philadelphia Flyers: Brian Elliott came over from the Calgary Flames to the City of Brotherly Love as a free agent in July. He agreed to a two-year contract worth $2,750,000 a season. Michal Neuvirth is just $250,000 behind at $2,500,000 to guard the net.
The duo is unrestricted free agents in 2019-2020. I think the Broad Street Bullies are hoping 2016 draft pick Carter Hart will be ready to take charge at that future date. A total of $3,254,978 in cap space is there for Philly to use.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky tops the Jacks at $7,425,000 on payday. However, the postseason remains the low point for the 29-year-old Russian with a 3-10 mark and a 3.63 GAA.
Joonas Korpisalo, taken in the third round of the 2012 draft, collects $900,000 this season and in 2018-2019. Columbus has $5,330,964 in cap space to start the season.
New Jersey Devils: Corey Schneider and forward Taylor Hall are tied for the top slot with the Red and Black at $6,000,000 apiece. Since coming over from Vancouver in 2013-2014, he has picked up 14 of his 23 career shoutouts with New Jersey.
Keith Kinkaid is in his next to last season with the Devils at $1,250,000 per season. It is interesting the Boys from the Garden State has $1,757,704 in additional cap space available over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, $8,336,666 to $6,578,962.
Carolina Hurricanes: After being traded by the Chicago Black Hawks to Carolina this past April, Scott Darling inked a four-year contract at $4,150,000 a season. Over 77 games played in his career, the Newport News, Virginia native owns 40 wins.
This season, Cam Ward wears the ballcap on the bench at $3,300,000. Jeremy Helvig, chosen in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, is in the pipeline. The Canes have a whopping $14,570,001 in estimated cap space.
Who do you think has the best goalie tandem for the money this season? The comments section is waiting for your thoughts.