The National Hockey League salary cap has its issues when calculating it. Actually, keeping track of the salary cap is pretty simple with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It’s when teams are using Long Term Injury Reserve that it will take careful navigating for those doing it at home. I missed the boat on this one but hey, so did most of those that make money off keeping track of the salary cap for fans so, I wasn’t alone.
But we can thank the Hockey Gods that The Bruins Cap Guru and Assistant General Manager Evan Gold was on top of this from the beginning and he will be there to guide this team through to the end.
So how did the NHL’s best team go from being one of the many operating in the red to one in the black?
Everyone knew coming into the season that the Bruins were going to be over the $82,500,000 upper cap limit. They did some maneuvering to start the season by waiving Chris Wagner, Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno.
When all was said and done, the Bruins began the season with $408,333 in cap space. And on the first day of the season, they placed Charlie McAvoy on LTIR allowing them to exceed the cap by almost the entirety of his $9.5 million cap hit. Wagner was destined for Providence and clearing all but $225,000 of his cap hit. Foligno proved that he didn’t belong anywhere but on the big club’s roster. Reilly was up and down a couple of times thanks to injuries. The Bruins even signed Anton Stralman after the season began.
When McAvoy was ready to return from LTIR an unfortunate injury bought Gold some time to work his cap when Derek Forbort broke his finger and was placed on LTIR.
It all began for Gold when the Bruins waived Reilly for a second time. Reilly was eventually sent to Providence and his cap hit (buried amount) was reduced to $2,033,108. That still left the Bruins over the cap to activate Forbort, so the Bruins waive Stralman. That essentially cleared all but $254,054 of Stralman’s cap hit.
The move left the Bruins with an end of season cap hit of $83,096,393 still over the $82,500,000 upper limit. However, $630,085 was LTIR money used. So, when you subtract the LTIR used from the year end cap hit you get $82,466,306 and take that away from the upper limit, you get $33,692 in cap space.
In other words, if they had kept Reilly on the roster one more day, this wouldn’t have worked.