Thursday marks the primary day of the second half of the season, whether or not it feels prefer it or not. The 2021-22 marketing campaign started on October 12, 2021, which was 100 days in the past, half of this 12 months’s 200-day NHL season.
Despite that, groups just like the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators have performed simply 32 of a scheduled 82 video games, lower than 40 p.c of their season. In reality, solely the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks have reached the midway level when it comes to video games performed, with most groups falling someplace between 35-38 due to the hundred-plus postponed video games within the early a part of the season.
With that in thoughts, there’s really an attention-grabbing alternative for groups which have a condensed schedule within the coming months. Since a participant’s cap hit is utilized to a staff’s funds each day, anybody acquired at this time can be added at half of their authentic common annual worth. That is to say, as PuckPedia explains on Twitter, a participant with a full-season cap hit of $5M would solely want $2.5M in cap area from right here on out. With greater than 60 p.c of the video games left for some groups, that gives some elevated worth for any acquisition—mainly, they’ll play in additional video games for the brand new staff than they’re paid for.
There might even be extra financial savings if a staff waited till the optimum time. Take the Islanders for instance, who like the remainder of the NHL had their February Olympic break stuffed up yesterday with the revised schedule. The staff has seven extra video games earlier than the All-Star break, at which level they are going to be off for one more week. As they head into their February 9 sport in opposition to the Vancouver Canucks, 120 of 200 days could have handed within the NHL season—60 p.c—but they are going to have performed solely 39 video games out of 82, not fairly 48 p.c of the schedule.
While the Islanders are nonetheless struggling to even get above .500 and is probably not the most certainly to benefit from this chance, it’s current for different contenders as nicely. The Minnesota Wild have performed simply 35 video games up to now, the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins simply 36. With some good maneuvering, these groups might get greater than half a season of efficiency from a brand new participant, whereas paying him fairly a bit much less.
This alternative is most obvious for groups which were in a position to keep out of long-term injured reserve, accruing cap area all season. The Wild, for example, are on monitor to have more than $15M in deadline cap space in accordance with CapFriendly, clearly sufficient so as to add a number of impression gamers. The Bruins in the meantime could have more than $8.2M in deadline cap area, and have performed fewer video games than the entire different contenders within the Atlantic Division.
In a league the place each single greenback has come into focus throughout a flat-cap interval, any benefit is necessary. For some groups, including reinforcements for what can be a struggle of attrition down the stretch might come at a substantial monetary discount.