NHL Salary Cap By Team

2020-2021 NHL Salary Cap Space

NHL Salary Cap Limit: $81,500,000
NHL Salary Cap Floor: $60,200,000
Projected Cap Space
Central Division
Team Projected Cap Space Active Roster Playoff %
Carolina Hurricanes logo Carolina Hurricanes $1,703,575 23/23 92.7%
Chicago Blackhawks logo Chicago Blackhawks $-3,486,608 22/23 67.7%
Columbus Blue Jackets logo Columbus Blue Jackets $1,069,446 23/23 2.6%
Dallas Stars logo Dallas Stars $-2,105,404 20/23 41.5%
Detroit Red Wings logo Detroit Red Wings $8,736,119 19/23 0.1%
Florida Panthers logo Florida Panthers $2,790,341 23/23 92.0%
Nashville Predators logo Nashville Predators $3,961,702 21/23 3.7%
Tampa Bay Lightning logo Tampa Bay Lightning $-16,702,160 20/23 99.8%
East Division
Team Projected Cap Space Active Roster Playoff %
Boston Bruins logo Boston Bruins $2,184,770 21/23 91.0%
Buffalo Sabres logo Buffalo Sabres $33,453 22/23 1.7%
New Jersey Devils logo New Jersey Devils $9,020,441 22/23 16.4%
New York Islanders logo New York Islanders $-4,675,669 22/23 80.5%
New York Rangers logo New York Rangers $3,723,798 19/23 12.1%
Philadelphia Flyers logo Philadelphia Flyers $1,562,184 21/23 88.8%
Pittsburgh Penguins logo Pittsburgh Penguins $-743,819 23/23 33.1%
Washington Capitals logo Washington Capitals $-4,016,836 21/23 76.3%
North Division
Team Projected Cap Space Active Roster Playoff %
Calgary Flames logo Calgary Flames $-584,210 22/23 24.5%
Edmonton Oilers logo Edmonton Oilers $-4,717,989 23/23 92.6%
Montreal Canadiens logo Montreal Canadiens $970,737 21/23 84.3%
Ottawa Senators logo Ottawa Senators $7,797,619 22/23 0.2%
Toronto Maple Leafs logo Toronto Maple Leafs $-1,057,363 22/23 99.8%
Vancouver Canucks logo Vancouver Canucks $-3,908,736 23/23 0.9%
Winnipeg Jets logo Winnipeg Jets $-2,552,359 23/23 97.8%
West Division
Team Projected Cap Space Active Roster Playoff %
Anaheim Ducks logo Anaheim Ducks $-3,667,025 23/23 1.1%
Arizona Coyotes logo Arizona Coyotes $2,096,246 21/23 9.3%
Colorado Avalanche logo Colorado Avalanche $-787,853 23/23 91.1%
Los Angeles Kings logo Los Angeles Kings $9,771,666 21/23 65.3%
Minnesota Wild logo Minnesota Wild $1,066,781 22/23 93.4%
San Jose Sharks logo San Jose Sharks $2,329,001 23/23 3.5%
St. Louis Blues logo St. Louis Blues $-9,647,891 23/23 39.2%
Vegas Golden Knights logo Vegas Golden Knights $-1,523,143 22/23 97.0%

What Is the NHL Salary Cap?

The NHL salary cap is the total amount that NHL teams may pay for players. The amount set as the salary cap each year depends on the league’s revenue for the previous season. As it is a 'hard cap,' there are no exemptions. However, if a player is injured and it's thought that they will miss at least 10 NHL games and 24 days in the season, their team can put them on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). By doing so, they can surpass the salary cap.

The salary cap was introduced to prevent teams with the most revenue signing all the top players, which was becoming a problem in the '90s and early 2000s. For instance, by signing a number of top-performing players and significantly spending more than the majority of other teams, the Detroit Red Wings were able to win three Stanley Cups in that time.

This led to the 2004-05 CBA negotiations, during which the entire season was cancelled — the first time a labor dispute has ever caused a cancellation in a major sports league in North America. At the time of the negotiations, teams were spending around 75 percent of their revenues on salaries — much higher than any other North American sports league. Eventually, they agreed to the general structure that remain today, including the mandatory payment to players in US dollars.

The concept of a salary cap is not new to the NHL. One was first introduced during the Great Depression, at which time the salary cap per team was $62,500 and $7,000 per player.

Salary Cap History

Since its reintroduction in the 2005-06 season, the NHL salary cap has risen every year:

  2005-2006 $39.0 million  
  2006-2007 $44.0 million  
  2007-2008 $50.3 million  
  2008-2009 $56.7 million  
  2009-2010 $56.8 million  
  2010-2011 $59.4 million  
  2011-2012 $64.3 million  
  2012-2013 $60.0 million *  
  2013-2014 $64.3 million  
  2014-2015 $69.0 million  
  2015-2016 $71.4 million  
  2016-2017 $73.0 million  
  2017-2018 $75.0 million  
  2018-2019 $79.5 million  
  2019-2020 $81.5 million  
  2020-2021 $81.5 million  

*During the 2012-13 season, there was a lockout. The salary cap was set to $60 million, but NHL hockey teams were allowed to spend a pro-rated $70.2 million for the shortened season.

The salary floor (the minimum that a team must spend as a whole) is 85 percent of the salary midpoint. For the 2019-20 season, the cap floor is $60.24 million.

History of the Teams

Originally, there were just six NHL teams, called the Original Six. In the 1967-68 season, six new teams were added. The Original Six formed the East Division and the new six formed the West Division.

In 1974, six more NHL hockey teams joined the league, creating 18 in total. The league then took four teams from the World Hockey Association when it ceased to exist in 1979. With the Cleveland Barons gone in 1978, this brought the total to 21 teams.

There was no further expansion to the league until the '90s. The next new NHL team was the San Jose Sharks in 1991. Another eight were added in the subsequent decade to reach 30 teams by 2000. Finally, in 2016, Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, announced that another new NHL team — the Vegas Golden Knights — would join the List of NHL Teams, making 31 teams for the 2017-18 season.

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