Arizona Coyotes Roster: Chatting About Salary Cap Space


Apr 13, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing David Moss (18), center Jeff Halpern (14), Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler (38) and defenseman Kevin Connauton (23) fight for the puck during the first period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With hockey season right around the corner, teams are finalizing their rosters.

Rookie camp is under way, pre-season is about to begin, and the final cuts and trades will have been made before you know it. Face it- it seems like it took forever this year, but hockey season has finally arrived.

Some teams know that their roster is going to be conspicuously missing at least one- if not more- roster players, due to cap overages. The Boston Bruins are almost a million over. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s deficit comes closer to two million. The Chicago Blackhawks are two point two million over and in the red, and the Philadelphia Flyers take the cake at nearly five million dollars beyond the cap.

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  • While teams like this are going to have to hold some kind of fire sale, other teams- the Arizona Coyotes included– have enough room to take on all the league cap overages combined, and then some. What gives?

    The Coyotes are currently sitting pretty with almost eleven million dollars in cap space to spare. They’re only seven million over the cap floor, as a matter of fact- there are only five teams with cheaper rosters than the desert dogs.

    While some fans may think this is a negative (and they could, in part, be right), not every good team needs to cost a ton. The Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and San Jose Sharks also fall in the bottom ten teams- and no one’s laughing at them. These teams simply spend smarter- and in the Coyotes’ case, have bigger plans ahead.

    The Arizona Coyotes are a very cheap team- and I’m saying this not to put them down, but because it’s true. The team hands out conservative contracts,seeming to buy into the “do well now, be rewarded later” mentality more than many teams. Sam Gagner is costing Don Maloney $3.2 million, coming off of a top-six pairing in Edmonton (in comparison, the Florida Panthers paid Dave Bolland $5.5 million to relive his glory days). Mikkel Boedker, who had a 51-point season, costs the team a mere $2.5 million annually- Boston is paying Brad Marchand, who finished the season good for as many points as Boedker, double that.

    “Mikkel Boedker, who had a 51-point season, costs the team a mere $2.5 million annually- Boston is paying Brad Marchand, who finished the season good for as many points as Boedker, double that.

    The blue line looks just as bargain-friendly. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle, who are projected to be two of the highest points-yielding defensemen in the league next season, combined cost the team as much as Patrick Kane alone is costing the Blackhawks next season. Connor Murphy, David Schlemko, and Michael Stone should all round out the team’s defensive roster- and none of them make over $1.2 million a season. The Philadelphia Flyers don’t pay a defenseman that little until you hit their eighth blue-line roster spot, where Michael Del Zotto is making $1.3 million. Granted, one of those higher-paid men is Kimmo Timonen, who is reportedly out due to a blood clot problem that was diagnosed earlier this summer- but putting that aside, the team is still paying their defensive roster double what the Coyotes are paying theirs.

    The Coyotes aren’t just cheap, though-they’re playing it safe.

    The teams’ projected budget is only $58 million for a reason.

    The Boston Bruins found themselves in a sticky situation back in July. They, like many teams, were anticipating the salary cap to have jumped much higher than it did- and when it didn’t, they were scrambling for funds. Coupled with a five million dollar bonus overages penalty tacked on to their 2014-2015 cap, the team was left with next to no money to re-sign the myriad of young players due for a raise.

    The Arizona Coyotes will be in the Bruins’ situation within the next couple of seasons. Ekman-Larsson and Yandle will cost the team a combined ten million for seasons to come, but Stone, Murphy, and potentially Brandon Gormley will be due drastic salary increases, as well. On the team’s offense, it’s unlikely that Boedker will continue to make what he does if he continues to perform like he has- and Lucas Lessio, Max Domi, and Henrik Samuelsson are all looking to be locks on the team’s roster in the next season or two. There’s no way these guys won’t be due pay raises, as well.

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    Should the salary cap continue to increase, the team will have no issue handing out these salaries, regardless of whether they narrow their cap space window or not. The team is being cautious, though, which is something that many teams didn’t think about doing until far too late.

    So, while the team could look to add another winger or two, fans needn’t fret- when October rolls around, being the poorer kids on the block isn’t necessarily as bad as it sounds.