Residing in salary cap hell won’t be among the myriad concerns that may potentially impact the Detroit Red Wings during the 2021-22 NHL season.
Not even a week into the campaign, already the Toronto Maple Leafs were forced to sign Canadian university goaltender Alex Bishop. The Leafs had no cap space to call up a goalie to replace injured ex-Red Wings puckstopper Petr Mrazek.
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) October 16, 2021
Impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak, salary-cap issues ended up requiring the Colorado Avalanche facing the St. Louis Blues with just 17 skaters suited up, one below the league limit.
No such concerns need occupy any space in the mind of Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.
“I certainly would say that cap space has a definite value in the game today,” Blashill said. “Obviously, you’ve seen it used for trades and things like that. But it also has value where you don’t want to be in the position where you have to make roster decisions based on our cap.”
“And that means we don’t necessarily need to keep somebody up based on our cap like some teams do at times,” Blashill explained. “We certainly never need to play short like some teams have been forced to do and maybe sign players that we wouldn’t sign otherwise.
“I think there’s definitely an advantage to having cap flexibility. I think it’s been an interesting observation over the last five years or so, how important cap space has become to some teams, how valuable it has been at times.”
More Than Half Of NHL Teams Lacking Cap Space
NHL salary numbers show 15 teams, including the Maple Leafs, with no cap space whatsoever. Another four teams show less than $1 million in available space. The Avalanche are among this latter group. There are also eight NHL clubs operating with less than a full 23-player contingent due to cap constraints.
#Avs are going with only 19 players tonight due to injuries, COVID-19, a suspension and cap constraints.
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) October 17, 2021
I certainly understand why teams are up against the cap,” Blashill said. “You’re going for it, you’ve got players that you’ve had to pay because of that, so you get up against the cap.
“Teams that are young and in a rebuild don’t need to be up against the cap and are able to take advantage of those situations.”