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The Nashville Predators and Their Cap Situation

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Money, money, money.

2017 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators season has been over for a few days now, but the early exit is very much on most fans’ minds. For those of you who want to use the Preds’ cap space as a coping mechanism, continue reading. If you just want to know what financial situation the team is in with regards to the players, also feel free to continue reading. If you just want to scream hot takes about re-signing certain players or signing certain free agents, jump ahead to the comments.

I’m going to break this down by players extended to a certain season. Players can typically sign for at most 7 years (8 in special cases), so we will be looking as far ahead as the 2024-25 season when it comes to contracts.

The upper limit of this year’s NHL salary cap, according to CapFriendly, will be at least $75 million. League projections are expecting an upper limit between $78 million to $82 million. Nashville’s 36 players on Standard Player Contracts (SPCs) fall at $67,350,000, leaving at least $7.47 million to spend on contracts this offseason.

The Preds have only 1 player signed through 2024-25: Ryan Johansen. Joey has an annual cap hit of $8 million over the remainder of his contract.

Preds Signed through 2025

Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Ryan Johansen 25 2025 $8 million 32
Total Cap Hit $8 million

Next in line are the two players currently on the Nashville Predators’ NHL roster who are signed through the 2023-24 season. Those players are Viktor Arvidsson and Kyle Turris both of whom will become UFAs at the expiration of their contracts.

Preds Signed Through 2024+

Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Ryan Johansen 25 2025 $8 million 32
Viktor Arvidsson 25 2024 $4.25 million 31
Kyle Turris 27 2024 $6 million 34
Total Cap Hit $18.25 million

No player currently on the roster is signed through 2023, but there are four players signed through the end of the 2021-22 season: Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm. Subban’s $9 million cap hit is the largest of anyone on the team right now and just under $3 million smaller than the other three signed to the same length combined. Expect P.K. to either take a much smaller paycheck or possibly be out of Smashville after 2022.

Only one Pred, Nick Bonino, has a contract ending after the 2021 season. His cap hit brings the team total above halfway with only 8 players on the roster, which makes the next part tricky.

Preds Signed Through 2021+

Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Ryan Johansen 25 2025 $8 million 32
Viktor Arvidsson 25 2024 $4.25 million 31
Kyle Turris 27 2024 $6 million 34
Filip Forsberg 23 2022 $6 million 27
P.K. Subban 29 2022 $9 million 33
Mattias Ekholm 27 2022 $3.75 million 31
Calle Jarnkrok 26 2022 $2 million 30
Nick Bonino 30 2021 $4.1 million 33
Total Cap Hit $43.1 million

There are six players whose contracts are up after the 2019-20 season. Three of them—Watson, Smith, and Josi—will be looking at similar contracts, but the other three may not be. Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber very well could ask to get their salary bumped up closer to seven figures, which may become a problem.

Even more of a potential problem, however, is Eeli Tolvanen. His ELC will be up after that season, and if Arvy’s most recent contract is a sign, Tolvanen will likely have a cap hit after that of $4 million or more.

Thankfully, the roster could also be very different in 2020, so there is not too much to worry about as of now.

And now, the fun part. There are five players on the NHL roster who will have an expiring contract in the next 13 months. $7 million, or at least part of that money will be freed up as Pekka Rinne will likely either retire or take a pay cut. Anthony Bitetto’s $650,000 cap hit will stay in that ballpark, so it isn’t much of an issue.

The other three are where it gets interesting. Not including this offseason’s money, the Predators will have just over $13.5 million to spend on Kevin Fiala, Ryan Ellis and Colton Sissons. Let’s say Ellis settles at $6 million. That means there is somewhere around $7.5 million to split between two players very much deserving of at least half of it. If Poile can work his magic and get Sissons to sign at around $2.5 million, Fiala can land somewhere between $3.5 million and $4 million, giving the Preds around $1 million in emergency FA/trade money. Now, all of this assumes those players agree to that and the Preds maximize their spending this season. If the Preds can save some cap space this year, the team is in a very good situation.

Speaking of this year, there are 7 players whose contracts will expire in a few weeks. The four UFAs—Hartnell, Fisher, Emelin and Lindback—won’t be back, as per David Poile’s post-season presser. This means that there is $10.47 million (according to the league’s projections) sitting around for the three RFAs: Saros, Salomaki, and Hartman. Not to mention a possible Ellis extension plus free agency.

With Saros’ ELC ending and a pending RFA, he will be looking for more money. A 1-year deal worth around $750,000 and then a pay bump the following year (maybe another 1-year deal, probably in the $3 million ballpark) would work fine. If not, there still is enough cap space right now to give him that $3 million deal.

The other $7.47 million can then be split between Hartman and Salomaki—who will likely combine for around than $4 million—and either a young Admirals player who gets the call up or a possible free agent forward.

Just to recap, here’s how the team will likely line up next season

Forsberg (2022)-Johansen (2024)-Arvidsson (2024)

Fiala (ELC 2019)-Turris (2024)-Smith (2020)

Sissons (2019))-Bonino (2021)-Tolvanen (ELC 2020)

Watson (2020)-Jarnkrok (2022)-Hartman (ELC RFA)

Josi (2020)-Ellis (2019)

Ekholm (2022)-Subban (2022)

Irwin (2020)-Weber (2020)

Rinne (2019)/Saros (ELC RFA)

All that firepower, along with Miikka Salomaki, Freddy G and maybe a free agent forward, can be deadly.

Here is what the Preds roster currently looks like with each player’s cap hit (excluding the UFAs and RFAs of this offseason).

Current Preds Cap Situation

Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Player Age Now Contract Expiration Cap Hit Age After Contract
Ryan Johansen 25 2025 $8 million 32
Viktor Arvidsson 25 2024 $4.25 million 31
Kyle Turris 27 2024 $6 million 34
Filip Forsberg 23 2022 $6 million 27
P.K. Subban 29 2022 $9 million 33
Mattias Ekholm 27 2022 $3.75 million 31
Calle Jarnkrok 26 2022 $2 million 30
Nick Bonino 30 2021 $4.1 million 33
Craig Smith 28 2020 $4.25 million 30
Austin Watson 26 2020 $1.1 million 28
Eeli Tolvanen 19 2020 (ELC) $925,000 21
Roman Josi 27 2020 $4 million 29
Yannick Weber 29 2020 $675,000 31
Matt Irwin 30 2020 $675,000 32
Pekka Rinne 35 2019 $7 million 36
Ryan Ellis 27 2019 $2.5 million 28
Kevin Fiala 21 2019 $863,333 22
Anthony Bitetto 27 2019 $650,000 28
Colton Sissons 24 2019 $625,000 25
*Viktor Stalberg 32 BUYOUT $1.17 million 33
Total Cap Hit $67.53 million

All contract information gathered from CapFriendly.

How are you feeling about the Preds’ cap situation now and heading into the future?

Poll

How are you feeling about Nashville’s cap situation

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Fantastic. SHOW ME THE MONEY!
    (183 votes)
  • 45%
    Meh. It’ll all work itself out
    (162 votes)
  • 3%
    I’m running out of nail to bite
    (12 votes)
357 votes total Vote Now