There are seven teams sitting below the NHL’s $48.3 million salary cap floor including: the Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders. Most of the aforementioned franchises are less than $6 million away from reaching the floor, with Nashville and the Islanders sitting around $9-10.5 million out. The Predators shouldn’t have much trouble reaching the floor once they lock up Shea Weber to a new deal and fill out the rest of their roster. The Islanders on the other hand, with approximately $37.8 million currently committed, have some work to do.

You know you’re in salary cap trouble when the $2.204 million owed to a bought out Alexei Yashin is being relied upon to help reach the floor. Once again, Mike Milbury’s greatest mistake actually provides some value to the Islanders, embarrassing as it is. Only two players (Mark Streit, $4.1 million and Rick Dipietro, $4.5 million) on the current Islanders roster will earn north of $4 million next season, making up nearly 23% of the team’s total payroll. Islanders’ GM Garth Snow tried to make a splash in the free agency game by trading for Christian Ehrhoff’s rights prior to July 1st, but quickly flipped them to the Buffalo Sabres, and we all know how that played out.

We had similar concerns with the Panthers reaching the floor leading up to free agency, but as we learned there’s really nothing a Dale Tallon over-spending spree can’t fix. Tallon infamously botched several qualifying offers to RFAs a couple of years ago in Chicago, which led to paying above market value to retain a number of key pieces of the Blackhawks eventual Stanley Cup championship team in 2009-10. Tallon hit free agency with a purpose and took the Panthers above the floor by signing several notable free agents and even bringing in his old buddy Brian Campbell and his $7 million+ cap hit via trade.

So we ask, what’s the hold up, Garth Snow?

The Isles should get a bit of boost once they reach agreements with a handful of RFAs like Josh Bailey, Ty Wishart, Blake Comeau, and others. They could also get some relief if youngsters like Nino Niederreiter and Calvin de Haan can crack the roster out of camp, although you’d hope they don’t make it for the sole purpose of the team avoiding any trouble with the league. Kent Wilson looked at a number of roster candidates that could help teams reach the floor, several of whom Snow might want to take a crack at acquiring through trade.

Guys like Brian Rolston and Mike Komisarek could probably be plucked from their current teams at a discount, and their respective $5.062 million and $4.5 million salaries would go a long way to getting the Isles over the hump. Otherwise, they’re looking at handing out inflated contracts to the likes of Bryan McCabe, Scott Hannan or Sergei Samsonov all in the name of hitting the floor.

This is a big summer for the Islanders, whose new arena plans are set to go to a vote on August 1st. A proper roster that meets the NHL’s salary cap obligations would probably be a good start for a franchise that’s looking to shake the “fledgling” “struggling” tag. We know that the Islanders WILL meet the floor, we just don’t know when or how. It’s your move, Garth Snow.

With salary cap data from CapGeek

Comments (10)

  1. What actually happens if a team doesn’t reach the floor?

  2. Fledgling? The team is forty years old. The Sharks are “fledgling.” The Blue Jackets are “fledgling.” “Fledgling” is not a synonym for “haven’t made the playoffs in a little while.”

    The other thing that annoys me (but this isn’t your fault at all) is that the league considers a “proper” roster to be one that spends at least $48.3 million dollars in total, regardless of how many wins that roster can accumulate. The floor should really be a fixed percentage of the ceiling; otherwise teams are punished twice in their down seasons – first by not being that good to begin with, but second by being forced to block young players they’d like to develop at the top level in favor of overpriced, marginal talent that will never improve either themselves or their club.

  3. Failure to meet the cap floor is not an option according to the CBA. It’s never happened before, but I believe punishment for failing to do so is subject to the league and would probably result in a combination of fines, loss of picks, etc.

  4. @nightfly My bad, you make a good point. Struggling would have been a better term. Amended.

  5. Garth is doing it the right way. There is no use burdening your team with a horrible 10 year contract just to make the floor. The next CBA will likely be friendlier to teams budgets anyway. He’s trying to get something that will improve the team but I’m guessing if he cannot pull the trigger on a deal that will help the team (and not just add a contract) he will sign McCabe to a deal. He still lives in NY I believe and his wife is from Long Island. They can sign Bailey and Comeau to 5 year step-up contracts like they did for Okposo & Grabner. Spread out some of the cap hit from the UFA years to the RFA years. Really with Nino on the roster(likely) and these deals they would only fall about a mill or two short. They will have someone. Snow has been uncharracteristically candid about looking to trade for a top 4 D-Man. The caps have too many D and not enough cap room. They could easily trade for Schultz. It’s really not an issue.

  6. If you miss the floor the League just collect the difference between the actual cap hit and the floor as the fine. Basically you are just paying for nothing

  7. There is nothing “embarrassing” about this situation. At all.

    You know this league is messed up when people think that having a lot of players who are young and not overpaid is an embarrassment but ridiculously overpaying FA who do not deserve it is not!

    Unless of course it happens to be the Isles who spent too much on someone a dozen years ago- then, BY ALL MEANS, continue to give them shit about that forever.

    Bringing in Yashin was MOST CERTAINLY NOT Milburys “biggest mistake” either- his pre-cap contract was too long and too expensive, thats all. Like that never happened to every other team?

  8. GM is clueless. He has been for years. His moves have proved nothing. Don’t hide behind building issue either or the great goalie injuries. How long ago was Yashin??? LOL. what do they have? He has so sandbagged the owner into believing he knows what he is doing.

  9. [...] in 2007, Yashin remains close with owner Charles Wang and GM Garth Snow. Then there’s the Islanders’ cap situation, Snow still needs to make up about $10 million to bring his team up to the cap’s 48.3 million [...]

  10. [...] Garth Snow will sign pretty much anyone right about now to rid himself of the organization’s ongoing cap floor debacle. With their payroll of $39.3 million, the Islanders are still the furthest away from the cap floor, [...]

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