How Do New Jersey Devils Hit Cap Floor If P.K. Subban Is Claimed?

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76): (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76): (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New Jersey Devils are weighing their options for the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. They could leave some big contracts exposed like Andreas Johnsson or they could try to keep some of their young players out there like Michael McLeod or Nathan Bastian. One of the players that’s likely to be exposed is P.K. Subban. He’s a $9 million defenseman that is not playing anywhere near his pay grade. His age range doesn’t fit with the rest of the team. He only has one more year left on his deal, so he isn’t really tied to the franchise.

There’s a chance that the Seattle Kraken take Subban thinking he could be their version of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Vegas Golden Knights took Fleury in order to get a star to build the team around. He was still a pretty good goalie at the time, but he eventually turned into a star on the ice again. Subban still has an outside shot to do that for a team like the Kraken.

Subban going to the Kraken provides an interesting situation for the Devils on multiple fronts. Right now, the Devils have Subban and Damon Severson playing on the right side. Both are great second-line defensemen, but they work as bad first-line defensemen. So, it gives the Devils a chance to reset the right side.

The New Jersey Devils would have to make up a lot of salary cap space if the Seattle Kraken take P.K. Subban.

However, it puts the Devils below the salary cap floor. In fact, the Devils would be way below the salary cap floor. The floor is set at just over $60 million for next season. Without Subban on the books, the Devils would be on the hook for around $35 million. So, the Devils would automatically have to spend $25 million just to hit the cap floor. They have to sign six or seven unrestricted free agents, so that will make up some of the money.

The Devils could make a huge move in free agency to make up some of that money. Obviously, Dougie Hamilton comes to mind. A bigger piece on Hamilton will come later in the offseason, but that comes with a long-term commitment. The Devils have to think about Jack Hughes‘ contract next season and they don’t want to get caught in these huge price tags before they are ready to compete.

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There are some trades the team can make to turn some of their picks and prospects into veteran contracts. There are some players out there that Tom Fitzgerald would be interested in even without the cap situation. This would just move things along.

This would kill two birds with one stone. The Devils could fill the void of salary cap space while avoiding an albatross contract. After signing all of their free agents, the Devils would only need to find another $10 million in contracts. With just two trades, the Devils can make up that money.

Devils fans are sick of another year near the salary cap floor, but if the Kraken take Subban, it’s almost a guarantee that’s where they’ll be next season.