Montreal Canadiens 2017-18 salary cap situation after Jonathan Drouin signing

A slight increase in the salary cap gives the Canadiens a bit of room to re-sign some of their veterans.

Once the Protected Lists were publicised for all 30 teams ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft, the NHL announced that the 2017-18 salary cap’s upper limit had been set at $75.0 million.

In a deviation from the norm since the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified, the players decided to choose a cap inflator less than the maximum of five percent, putting the cap just $2 million higher than last season. Artificially inflating the amount teams had available to spend on their players was forcing actual salaries paid to be significantly less than the advertised amount, and that difference will be lessened with a more modest value.

For the Canadiens, the extra $2 million is welcome, as they have several players who still need to sign a contract for next season.

One of the more pressing needs is a new contract for team MVP Carey Price. That deal that was always glanced toward when speaking about contending for a Stanley Cup is now in its final year, and a big raise is due the world’s top goaltender. Negotiations are already under way between his agent and the team, with hopes of an extension signed soon after the earliest possible date of July 1.

Of more immediate concern is the lack of a deal for career-Hab Andrei Markov, an extension for Alex Galchenyuk, and deciding what to do with last year’s biggest surprise, Alexander Radulov.

Those three moves would just about complete the 23-man roster for next season (though the potential loss of a NHL player in the expansion draft looms), but even with the boost to the cap there is just over $17 million to work with to get them all re-upped and leave a bit of space for any in-season transactions.

The Canadiens could be attempting to bargain with the Golden Knights for some more dollars to work with. For a (substantial) fee, Vegas has stated its willingness to take on some big contracts, essentially sacrificing their first season of existence to load up on draft picks and young prospects for year two.

It would be a large price to pay, but gaining the $6 million from Tomas Plekanec’s final contracted year would be a big help in getting Galchenyuk and a replacement third-line centre on the team for next season. A buyout is also a possibility for that pact, and the dollar figure involved may be more palatable than giving up a key future asset.

Data obtained from CapFriendly.

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