"We won! ...Why sure, I've heard of the salary cap. Wait, you traded me where?"

In 18 days, the NHL’s trade deadline will be upon us.

I’ll be hosting a 4.5 hour live stream discussing the ramifications of all the thrilling draft-pick-for-an-AHLer deals, and crossing my fingers that a couple GMs lose their freaking minds and trade EVERYONE FOR EVERYONE. Or that at least a few big names have their lives permanently rearranged to make my day more fun.

Noting that there are a number of teams looking to add talent before then, the wonderful website CapGeek tweeted out how much cash teams have to work with under the salary cap for the rest of the season.

In the case of rental players (guys coming over for just the end of the season who have expiring deals), remember that contracts are pro-rated, so teams could feasibly add some bigger names and only take on the remaining portion of the contract towards the cap. Assuming, once again, that teams are willing to play ball with “bigger names.” (Magic 8-ball says….”Outlook not so good.”)

A couple of things to note: numbers can change based on “demotions,” as in, by choosing a player or two to bury in the minors send to your farm club. Also, you can gain or lose space from players going on, and coming off “LTI” (long-term injury list). So a team like the Bruins, for example, will have Marc Savard on there so his contract doesn’t count towards the cap.

There’s also something called tagging, and I had no idea what it meant, so I fired a message to CapGeek, and got this answer:

So….hope that helped.

So here you have it: all information is from CapGeek (follow them on Twitter here), and all numbers are estimations.

Available Cap Space, Eastern Conference

The New York Rangers: $6.9M, could move Sauer to LTI

The Boston Bruins: $13.7M (gadzooks), could move Savard to LTI

The Washington Capitals: $5.9M – $6.4M, with the assumption of Green/Poti staying on LTI

The Philadelphia Flyers: $4.9M – $5.5M, with the assumption of Pronger/Betts/Laperierre on LTI

The New Jersey Devils: $13.3M – depends on tagging (gotcha)

The Pittsburgh Penguins: $5.7M – with the assumption Staal stays on LTI, other LTI’s could be added

The Toronto Maple Leafs: $6.9M - could be more with demotions

The Ottawa Senators: – From CapGeek: “The Senators only cap limits are via tagging because they’ve saved enough to add $59.8m at the deadline.” /head explodes

The Florida Panthers: From CapGeek: “The Panthers only cap limits are via tagging because they’ve saved enough to add $43.7m at the deadline.” /rest of body explodes

The Winnipeg Jets: Unmentioned, but they have plenty of room below the cap if they care to use it

The New York Islanders: The salary floor is scarier than the ceiling

The Tampa Bay Lightning: $9.3M, more with demotions

The Buffalo Sabres: $3.5M, if Hecht remains on LTI. Otherwise, they’re up against the cap and can’t spend

The Montreal Canadiens: $8.5, if Markov remains on LTI. Why, that’s enough for another Scott Gomez!

The Carolina Hurricanes: Unmentioned, also more concerned with floor than ceiling.


Of note:

* The Boston Bruins, already a frighteningly good hockey team, have $13.7 million to play with, meaning they could add another legitimately good player if they can find one.

* The Buffalo Sabres, 13th in the Conference, literally need one of their guys to stay hurt if they want to make a move. They’re like Adam ”Pac-Man” Jones – they “made it rain” this summer, and I bet they’d love to sweep it all up and take it back.

and last…

* What are the odds every NHL GM understands the concept of tagging? Am I the only who thinks there’s probably one or two dudes just winging it? I can think of a few suspects.

Coming soon: the Western Conference.