NHL teams spending freely during free agency
Financial issues fueled the NHL lockout that left arenas in the dark for nearly four months last season.
The first few days of the league's free-agency period are proof that the millions lost during the lockout have not crippled spending.
If anything, spending has been triggered.
NHL general managers spent more than $350 million in guaranteed contracts before the free-agency period was 10 hours old July 5.
This marked the biggest spending spree on Day 1 of free agency since July 1, 2009. Many around the league were surprised by the financial aggressiveness on display.
Right wing Craig Adams, the Penguins NHL players' association representative, was encouraged.
“It's a really good thing to see,” said Adams, who signed a two-year contract worth $700,000 annually to return to the Penguins.
“It's free agency. It's the way that the system is supposed to work. It's nice to see guys getting rewarded like this around the league. A lot of guys have done really well for themselves so far.”
The salary cap has dropped to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season after exceeding the $70 million mark for the recently finished campaign. However, many in the Penguins' organization and around the league expect the salary cap to spike above the $70 million mark by the 2015-16 season, and believe it could even hit that level for the 2014-15 season.
Instead of bracing for the lower cap this season, teams instead are preparing for down the road when their spending target figures to rise. Even the Penguins, who usually leave around $1.5 million under the salary cap in the summer because of possible in-season moves, have spent to the limit. In fact, they figure to exceed the cap this summer once all of their moves are complete, and they likely will be required to trade a player to sneak under the cap.
Teams are permitted to spend 10 percent over the salary cap in the summer so long as they are under the cap when the season begins in October.
“The good thing,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said, “is that we have some time. We're going to take our time and see what happens.”
Few general managers were taking their time when the free-agency period opened. For NHL players, who were told during the lockout that many NHL teams were in trouble financially because of large contracts that had become the norm, this is a satisfying period.
“I'm really happy for all the guys around the league who are doing so well for themselves right now,” Adams said. “Good for them. Good for all of them. It's a positive thing for us to see.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Penguins notebook: Flyers’ success in Pittsburgh stems from power play
- Five is enough for Penguins’ defensemen
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion
- Penguins considering making roster changes for postseason
- Players respect coach, refuse to blame Johnston
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Penguins coach Johnston’s mother dies