It’s probably foolish to start worrying about cap space so early in the summer, but before you know it dynasty leagues will start their renewals and you’ll have to start thinking about keepers and sneaky sneaky draft picks.
The list will surely grow after July 1st, but there are already a handful of teams with extremely obvious need of cheap depth talent. This is music to the ears of prospect owners, and its never too early to visit your reserve listings from last year and predict who will be helping you out in the fall.
Let’s take a look at some teams in a tight squeeze for cap space come 2019-20, and who might be ready to provide some help:
Vegas Golden Knights
2019-20 situation: 19 contracts, -$100,000 cap space
There’s a ton of talent on Vegas, and they’ve paid for it. They will be forced to move pieces no matter what, but will be strapped for cash regardless. Unfortunately for them, they’ve also traded away some of their top young assets in the process of obtaining so many good players. But they do have at least one ace up their sleeve in Cody Glass. Should William Karlsson be a cap casualty, the top prospect could pivot the second line as early as next year. Maybe he see a more sheltered role. In a perfect world he would have as much time as he needs in the AHL to prepare for NHL stardom (and this might still be the case), but his cheap ELC deal and high-level talent will be hard for Vegas to send down, even if he isn’t 100% NHL-ready out of camp and has to learn on the job. Nikita Gusev may also be an important piece, but his contract situation is still up in the air and may not be quite as cheap as a regular rookie.
Tampa Bay Lightning
2019-20 situation: 17 contracts, $8,500,000 cap space
This may seem like a high number for cap space, but we all know that Brayden Point needs a new contract and its not going to be cheap. Add to that the rumors of Erik Karlsson having eyes for the team. Not to mention they have to consider the following season, which will be even tighter with new deals required for Vasilevskiy, Sergachev, and Cirelli, to name a few. They will no doubt find way to move out players and make some magic like they always do – but one of the things they always do is have cheap kids ready to go. This season is no different, with players like Mitch Stephens, Alex Volkov, Taylor Raddysh, and Boris Katchouk brewing in Syracuse, gaining AHL experience to act on in training camp. Throw in Alex Barre-Boulet, the AHL Rookie of the Year to that conversation too of course. This will be fierce competition and may come down to best fit for the roles available rather than best players available in the system. Keep an eye on who gets traded and which lines get holes in them when trying to pick a horse or two in this race.
Toronto Maple Leafs
2019-20 situation: 17 contracts, $8,800,000 cap space
As always, the world revolves around the Leafs. Like Tampa Bay, the current cap space doesn’t look like a problem until you consider the upcoming contracts. Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson all need deals, Jake Gardiner is leaving, but you already know that. So you have no excuse not to be ready for names like Calle Rosen or Adam Brooks when they make their pushes this fall. They brought in the 24-year-old Ilya Mikheyev on the cheap from Russia who will get first dibs on a spot, but there may very well be multiple available. Brooks will make a push, but there is huge dark horse potential for names like Mason Marchment, Pierre Engvall, or Michael Carcone who re all well-suit for fourth-line low-TOI roles while providing more upside than your average fourth-liner. We’ve all had enough of the Leafs’ media coverage, so don’t be caught by surprise by the young names appearing soon.
As always, thank you CapFriendly.com for your invaluable contract info resources.
Because I’m lucky enough to have this platform to reach a handful of fantastic fans, I have to take the chance to whine a little bit.
Tickets for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver went on sale at 10am local time on Ticketmaster for $30. Almost the entire upper bowl of the arena was available to the public. All of those tickets were gone within a minute, and immediately available for resale on sites for as high as $200.
We hear about this in the music industry all the time, and in others as well. Its not something any of us will solve overnight. But if we don’t complain, and don’t make it clear that this activity is preventing real fans from being able to attend events, the message will never get across. If you have a platform, big or small, take the opportunity to let the NHL know they’ve messed up by letting Ticketmaster do this stuff.
Luckily, DobberProspects and DobberHockey are reputable enough to send a small number of writers as media personnel to the draft regardless, to make sure you continue to receive the best info in the business when it comes to prospect information and fantasy hockey knowledge. But the majority of the staff here rely on public access to bring you the information you read here every day, and a lot of us are now prevented from attending the draft, the culmination of our prospect studies, because of these automated ticket purchases and mark-ups. The broken system affects fans and writers both.
Thank you for reading, taking the time in between the unbelievable hockey games we are lucky enough to watch this time of year.
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