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Thoughts A Brewin’: The Predators Cap Situation



Spencer Stastney
Photo of Spencer Stastney by John Russell/Nashville Predators

Now that we are past the NHL Draft, initial free agency splashes and development camp for the young guns, it’s time to shift focus to the 2024-25 season.

After the big signings Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz has brought in thus far this summer, there’s no better place to start than the offseason cap situation.

Currently, the Predators’ payroll sits at $89,768,881 as the offseason does not distinguish between NHL and AHL rosters for purposes of salary calculations. This is why teams are able to exceed the typical upper limit of the salary cap by 10% during this time.

The salary cap for 2024-25 will be $88M, so teams are allowed to use up to $96.8M until October 8 when the NHL season begins stateside. International games, although they count for the regular-season statistics, do not require those traveling teams to limit their rosters or salary cap space until the league-wide date.

It’s rare a team has summer issues, and the Predators are well within the number.

A team’s offseason payroll is determined by adding all upcoming salaries for one-way contracts (Roman Josi or Filip Forsberg, to name two examples) and pro-rated two-way contracts (Matt Murray and Vinnie Hinostroza as examples) and pro-rated qualifying offers (Marc Del Gaizo and Philip Tomasino as examples) even if they aren’t accepted (Spencer Stastney, for example). The total for this would be $3,162,182.

The Predators currently have – including the big three signings of Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skjei, as well as goaltender Scott Wedgwood – 11 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders for a total of 19 players under one-way contracts.

These 19 players amount to a payroll of $74,801,143. This total in one-way contracts plus the dead cap space arising from the likes of Kyle Turris, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene ($11,805,556) results in a total active-roster salary of $86,606,699.

As a result, the Predators have $1,393,301 in salary cap space from the 2024-25 cap of $88M to work with. Perhaps to sign Stastney, for example, who recently filed for arbitration. The Predators and Stastney are able to negotiate a deal up to the start of arbitration, which has yet to be officially scheduled but could be anywhere between July 20 and Aug. 4. Stastney has until July 15 to sign his qualifying offer, and the team has an option to extend it beyond that if, for some reason, Stastney changes his mind. Hint: he won’t.

It’s important to note on these numbers that Luke Evangelista is not considered a part of the one-way contract players list because he is still on his entry-level, two-way deal of $797,500 even though he played all last season in the NHL.

For most of last season, the Predators maintained only 22 players on the roster (13 forwards, seven defensemen, two goaltenders), even though the maximum is 23. It will be interesting to see what Trotz has in store and how the team values Stastney internally when they are required to provide their arbitration numbers.

Of course, there are a variety of things Nashville can do to navigate the cap situation as the Oct. 10 season opener approaches. Based on Trotz’s July 1 comments following the big signings, including the extension of defenseman Alexandre Carrier, I wouldn’t count out Trotz making another move.

Does he consider and/or seek to possibly move one of the players who are each amassing a $2.5M cap hit? These are, of course, defenseman Dante Fabbro and forward Cody Glass. If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t sleep on Trotz.

Note: Data outlining two-way players’ days on active NHL rosters for last season are courtesy of Puckpedia. These data could be slightly off (less than $10k) depending on the accuracy of days.

Follow Clay Brewer on Twitter/X: @ClayBrewer10

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