Is the NHL season going to come back? Nobody knows.
When will the NHL Draft and free agency take place? Nobody knows, either.
The future seems as uncertain as ever, but one thing is for sure: the revenues for the NHL are going to drastically lower. Henceforth, one can not expect the salary cap to increase.
Around the trade deadline, the salary cap was expected to increase by at least $4 million. The current salary cap is at $81.5 million, and that figure will probably remain put for the next season, as well.
First, the Boston Bruins were about to celebrate. They managed to successfully shed the salary of David Backes and received news about the salary cap going up. With the free agents like Torey Krug, Jake Debrusk, Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak, or Matt Grzelcyk, every penny comes in handy.
However, as of now, the salary cap projection doesn’t look as bright as before for the Bruins. They would be left with approximately $20 million in cap space. Re-signing Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, or Jaroslav Halak while extending restricted free agents like Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, MattbGrzelcyk is going to be almost impossible.
One of the few positive tools of the NHL salary cap system is that it works the same for every team in the league. If the salary cap is going to remain flat, many teams are going to have similar difficulties as the Bruins.
How would that affect the Bruins’ offseason discussion with Krug, after all? The Bruins might have landed an important advantage in the potential contract talks.
“There’s not going to be a big market for top UFAs,” one NHL agent told TSN’s Frank Seravalli. “How many teams are going to be able to give you what you want?”
For Krug, that’s an unfortunate position, as it is for many free agents. If he was not going to re-up with the Bruins, he would receive a handy paycheck elsewhere. The question right now remains: where would he receive that paycheck?
All the contenders are going to have trouble offering Krug more than the Bruins. Washington, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Islanders, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Vegas are all going to have less than $5 million in cap space.
If you are Krug’s agent and looking for a team with plenty of available cap space, you would find Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, or New Jersey. The Red Wings are going to have $13 million in space. But would Krug accept a deal with such a team instead of staying with the Bruins on a potential bridge deal? That’s improbable.
Nevertheless, the 2020 offseason is an incredibly inadequate time to be a big-time free agent chasing a long-term deal.
Even if the salary cap remained flat in 2021, the Bruins would be in a much better position to give Krug a more handful paycheck than right now.
Boston just needs time. They might earn it.