The New Jersey Devils should use their salary cap against desperate teams.
The New Jersey Devils have been a team that’s always trying to keep salary cap space so they can use it as a weapon later. Some fans are sick of this approach, but it’s led to key acquisitions in the past including Sami Vatanen and P.K. Subban. Going into next season, the NHL is going with a flat salary cap not only this season but for every season the league doesn’t reach $4.8 billion.
This could lead to the league sitting at $81.5 million for at least the next two seasons depending on how the Seattle expansion and the new TV deal impacts revenues. Next season, the Devils have a little over $26 million in cap space. They still need to re-sign Jesper Bratt and Mackenzie Blackwood, but that shouldn’t take up too much of that space. There are some moves they can make like buying out Cory Schneider if they want to create more space, but it’s not exactly necessary right now.
The Devils have even more cap space in 2021-22, when players like Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, and Nikita Gusev‘s contracts end, while the buyout for Mike Cammalleri finally ends (yup, that’s still happening). That leads to the Devils having more than $45 million in cap space. The year after, they finally get out of the massive contracts of P.K. Subban and Schneider.
Basically, the Devils expect to get more and more cap space as the years go on (obviously) and they get out of contracts both bad and good every season. Some of these players may be re-signed to change their outlook, but either way, the Devils will have plenty of space moving forward.
Other teams aren’t so lucky. There are some teams that are in a mess, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Well, the Devils can provide that missing light with some relief. However, it will cost them. The Devils would ask for a premium asset in return. These teams might do well calling Tom Fitzgerald to see what they can work out, and it could be the best thing to happen to the Devils.