The NHL’s salary cap number is not expected to rise more than one million for the 2023-24 season, pushing the maximum amount a team can spend to $83.5 million.
If that ends up being the number, the Washington Capitals will only get to use $980,000 of that new money due to an obscure CBA penalty called an overage. Overages are salary cap charges that carry over to the next season due to performance bonuses.
Fifteen NHL teams, including six teams that missed the playoffs, were busted for one reason or another – a new league record.
Under the salary cap rules outlined in the CBA, 3 types of players are eligible to have performance bonuses in their contracts:
- Players on their Entry-Level Contracts
- Players that are 35 or older and sign a 1-year contract
- Veteran Players that have missed considerable time due to injury and sign a 1-year contract
At the conclusion of the season, the performance bonuses earned by players are added to their team’s final season cap hit, and if the resulting total exceeds the cap ($82.5 million), the excess is a cap hit for the following season as a performance bonus carryover overage cap charge.
According to PuckPedia, the Capitals were nicked $20,000 due to a games-played bonus Aliaksei Protas earned during the 2022-23 season. Protas came out of nowhere in Training Camp, made the Capitals’ Opening Night roster, and ended up playing 58 games, setting career highs in goals, assists, and points. Protas was playing in the second year of his entry-level contract he signed in July 2019.
Because the Capitals were over the salary cap most of the season due to how they utilized long-term injured reserve, they could not find a way to fit the $20k under the limit.
The team most penalized was the Boston Bruins, who had the greatest regular season in hockey history as they set both the NHL wins and standings points records.
15 Teams incurred Performance Bonus overages from this year which will be a bonus carryover cap hit for 23-24.#NHLBruins lead the way with a $4.5M bonus overage #FueledbyPhilly & #GoHabsGo next with $1.1M+
Check out full list and recap:https://t.co/pDj3rCo0Lz
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 21, 2023
The Bruins will pay for it dearly next season after signing 35+ year-old players, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, to contracts in 2022-23 with easily attainable bonuses so they could fit them under the salary cap. Bergeron signed a $2.5 million deal while Krejci inked a $2 million contract. Bergeron got a $2.5 million bonus if he played 10 games this season while Krejci got an extra $2 million for appearing in 10 games ($1 million) and 20 games ($500k) and the Bruins making the postseason ($500k).
The Capitals were one of five Metropolitan Division teams to get an overage penalty. The Philadelphia Flyers ($1,187,500), New York Rangers ($610,981), Carolina Hurricanes ($450,000), and New Jersey Devils ($422,500) will also have to navigate their roster next season with fewer dollars.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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