A visualization of the Montreal Canadiens’ 2016-17 salary cap situation

The inclusion of several rookies helps to give the Habs some manoeuvrability heading into the season.

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We know the players who will be in the building when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night, and the above graphic is a representation of how much of the allotted $73 million of salary cap space those players will take up.

The most obvious contract is the whopping 10 years at close to $8 million committed to Shea Weber. The good news is that should he decide to call it a career before the contract comes to an end (just before he turns 41 years of age), any cap penalties are incurred by the Nashville Predators — the team that signed the deal and benefitted the most from shifting the most expensive salaries to the first few years of the pact — with no risk for the Canadiens. With dwindling salaries over the final few seasons covered by the deal, it’s not quite as monstrous as it first appears.

The contract that should be the most concerning is that of Carey Price, with just this season and the next remaining on his deal with the team. The 2014-15 NHL MVP will be due for a big payday once that comes to an end, and that is very likely something Marc Bergevin has been planning around for some time now.

It’s also possible that this will be the final year of the longest-tenured Hab, Andrei Markov, as the 37-year-old veteran approaches the end of his deal in the twilight of his career. A lot will depend on how effective he can be an offensive role, and Kirk Muller’s power-play tactics may allow for him to extend his time as an effective player in the league by a season or two.

Since there are still 24 players with the team, and a roster limit of 23 to start the year, the visualization is a bit misleading with the full contracts of all the players. The most likely scenario sees Mikhail Sergachev heading back to the junior ranks when Jeff Petry is able to be activated off the Injured Reserve list. For that reason, the dollar figures shown in the legend are calculated based on a nine-game tryout for Sergachev, or 18 of the 186 days of the NHL season that pass between today’s start of the 2016-17 season and the Canadiens’ ninth game on Saturday, October 29.

The result is about $2 million of available funds to make acquisitions throughout the year. That would be enough to take on a player whose contract carries a cap hit of $8.8 million for the final 40 days of the season that follow the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1, 2017.

They have that space, which a lot of contending teams would love to have at their disposal, despite the large financial commitment made to Alexander Radulov at the opening of free agency this summer. Pundits initially mocked the deal as an outrageous gamble on a player with character issues (our community was a bit more forward-thinking), but now that the dust has settled, and considering the month-to-month structure of the signing bonuses including in the contract, it looks like one of if not the best off-season free-agent signings.

A few low-cost deals help to offset some of the larger ones, and many of those young players have at least one more year remaining after this one, meaning the team should be in good financial standing for at the least the next season, as well.

And that’s good, because the time from now until June 30 will be a long negotiation between the team and the agent of its newly christened first-line centre regarding a multi-year contract extension.

More information on contract details is available at:

A public Google spreadsheet containing this cap info and the charts these visualizations are based upon is available here. You can always find the latest cap visualization in our Library, or at this link. It will be updated at semi-regularly throughout the season using CapFriendly’s Daily Cap Tracker.

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