NHL News

Apr 23 2024

11 teams will carry a performance bonus overage cap hit next season

With a salary cap that has risen just $2 million total over five seasons, teams continue to have very limited cap space. 

This led to a record 22 teams (69% of teams) utilizing Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) in 2023-2024 to either permanently or temporarily exceed the cap. This record number of teams using LTIR surpassed the previous record of 19 teams, set last season. By using LTIR, just under half of the league’s 32 teams finished the regular season with a final team cap hit over the maximum $83.5 million.

There are negative consequences of utilizing LTIR, including that by finishing over the salary cap, all the performance bonuses players earn will be a cap charge in the following season.

Under the Salary Cap rules outlined in the CBA, there are 3 types of players are eligible to have performance bonuses in their contracts:

  1. Players on their Entry Level Contracts
  2. Players that are 35 or older and sign a 1-year contract
  3. Veteran Players that have missed considerable time due to injury and sign a 1-year contract

At the conclusion of the season, the performance bonuses earned by players are added to their team’s final season cap hit, and if the resulting total exceeds the cap ($83.5 million), the excess is a cap hit for the following season as a performance bonus carryover overage cap charge. 

For the 2024-25 season, at least 11 teams (and possibly a 12th) will incur a bonus overage cap charge.  This is actually less than the last two seasons: 2023-24 had a record 15 teams with an overage and 2022-2023 had 14 teams.

Here’s a look at the 11 teams that will have an overage for the 2024-25 season.

Team Bonus Overage Carryover Additional Potential Bonus/Overage
Edmonton Oilers $3,450,000  +$100K for Perry playoff bonuses
Dallas Stars $2,595,407   
Washington Capitals $2,252,500   
Los Angeles Kings $1,850,000   
New Jersey Devils $1,538,897   
Montreal Canadiens $997,500   
Ottawa Senators $850,000   
New York Rangers $512,500  + $25K to Quick for Cup Win
Minnesota Wild $425,000  +212.5K to Rossi for "All Rookie" team
Philadelphia Flyers $245,000   
Boston Bruins $50,000  +$200K to Lucic for Cup Win
Florida Panthers $                          -    + $500K to Okposo for Cup Win

The Edmonton Oilers will have the highest overage this season with $3.45 million in bonus overages. This could increase by another $100K: $50K if they win Round 2 and Perry plays either 50% of the games in Round 2 or 50% of the games in Round 1 and Round 2 combined, and $50K if they win Round 3 and Perry plays either 50% of Round 3 games or 50% of the games Rounds 1 through 3.  Perry has already earned $225K in bonuses for playing 10 regular season games with the team. The largest bonus comes from Connor Brown earning $3.225M for playing 10 games, a contract structure that was designed to beat the competition for the free agent and carry just a $775K Cap hit for him this season.  Brown was eligible for performance bonuses due to the injury he suffered last season. This large team bonus overage is actually less than the $4.5M the Boston Bruins faced this season. 

Dallas' overage is made up of the $2M Pavelski earned for playing 20 games, and Harley earned all of the $637.5K potential "A" bonuses in his contract.  Dallas frequently sent Logan Stankoven down on off-days during the last portion of the season, which built up some end of year cap space. Despite incurring $2,637,500 in bonuses, due to having some end of year cap space, Dallas' overage is $2,595,407

Washington spent the year in LTIR due to Backstrom's injury. Similar to Edmonton, they landed a free agent by offering easily attainable performance bonuses; Pacioretty earned a $2M bonus for playing in 20 games coming off a major injury last year. With Lapierre narrowly earning $212.5K in "A" bonuses for +/-, and a games played bonus for Protas, Washington will have $2,252,500 of next year's cap lost due to overage.

The breakout season for Quinton Byfield culminated with him scoring a goal and an assist in game 82, earning him $425K in additional bonuses for goals and assists with that performance. Added to the bonuses he earned for Time on Ice and +/-, Byfield took home $850K in "A" bonuses. Cam Talbot also had a contract with easily attainable bonuses, $1M for playing 10 games. 

New Jersey spent the year hovering around the $83.5M cap, despite having Nosek and Hamilton on LTIR. Luke Hughes maxed out the $925K in potential "A" bonuses in his contract, Nemec earned "A" bonuses for Time on Ice and Blocked Shots, and Mercer earned "A" bonuses for Goals and TOI. Interestingly, Mercer's contract called for a reduced Time on Ice bonus amount if the team missed the playoffs. With $1.74M in bonuses earned, the $200K New Jersey finished below the cap reduced the overage to $1.54M.

Montreal's bonus overage increased by $250K when first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky scored his 20th goal in game 82 and he picked up more of his "A" bonuses. He also earned for Time on Ice, earning $500K total in bonuses.  Barron and Guhle each earned Time on Ice "A" bonuses, while Struble maxed out his $57.5K Games Played bonus, and Monahan hit a $15K Games Played bonus prior to being traded.

For the first time in memory, Ottawa actually finished over the cap as they used LTIR with Josh Norris.  Jake Sanderson hit $850K in "A" bonuses. 

The New York Rangers utilized LTIR and finished over the cap, leading to their bonuses earned resulting in an overage.  Schneider earned a $212.5K "A" bonus for Blocked Shots, while Blake Wheeler earned $300K for playing in 30 Games prior to injury.  Jonathan Quick narrowly missed out on bonuses for wins and SV %, but he can still earn $25K if the Rangers win the Cup.  Will Cuylle was set to earn an $82.5K bonus if he played in 82 games, but fell short by playing in just 81. 

Minnesota finished over the cap with Spurgeon on LTIR, and will have an overage due to Rossi hitting "A" bonuses for Goals and total Time on Ice.  This will increase by another $212.5K if he's named to an All-Rookie Team at the end of the year.

Philadelphia dipped into LTIR during the season, leading to them finishing over the cap.  As a result, the "A" bonus Brink hit for +/- and the GP bonus Ersson earned will result in a $245K bonus overage.

Despite not earning his games played bonus this year, Milan Lucic earned a $50K bonus for Boston making the playoffs. He'll earn another $200K if they win the cup. After $4.5M in overages Boston faced this year, they'll be gaining some much needed cap space next year. 

After being acquired at the deadline, the Panthers will pay a $500K bonus to Kyle Okposo if they win the Cup, which will result in an overage. 

Seven teams actually finished over the cap but did not pay out any bonuses: Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Vegas Golden Knights.  This will increase to eight if Florida does not win the Cup.  

While the cap is expected to increase by at least $4.175M next season, at least 11 teams will have part or more than that eaten up by bonus overages from this past year.

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