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Asked Jul 8, 2021 by Charles I.
Tampa Bay Lightning logo

How can a team be $17 million over cap?

I see that Tampa Bay is $17 million over the salary cap, is there a penalty for being over the cap? If there’s not a penalty then why do teams even follow the cap? It does not look like the salary numbers will drop much if no moves are made so they will be in a similar situation next year. 


Jul 7, 2021

Teams must always be in compliance with the salary cap.  Part of the salary cap rules include Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR), which allows a team to exceed the cap by a certain amount if they have players that are injured long-term.

Here is more information on LTIR:

Tampa had several players on LTIR which allowed them to exceed the $81.5M Cap, but they were always in compliance with the Cap.  Since they were in compliance, there is no penalty. However, one consequence of using LTIR and being over the $81.5M cap is that any performance bonuses earned will be a carryover bonus overage and incur a cap charge in the following year. Tampa Bay incurred that so will have a resulting cap charge in 21-22 for the bonuses earned in 20-21.

As for next season, they're permitted to exceed the cap by 10% until the start of the next season. Therefore, they will either need to make roster moves to be under $81.5M by the start of the next season, and/or they will need players that are injured long-term and placed on LTIR. 

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