Throughout the life of the Atlantic Division, both in cap years and before the Great War Of Salary Cap Invention 2004, the New York Islanders and their fans have been accustomed to richer division rivals. Sure, there were years where the Penguins were tanking and bankrupt, and years where the Devils were spiraling toward default (but still carrying a massive payroll).
But for the most part, the Joneses known as the Flyers, Rangers, Penguins and Devils have spent far more on player salaries than a Nassau Coliseum-based team would keep up with.
With the NHL's realignment and new divisions, that hasn't changed. Still, one can't help but notice a few of those people moving into the
Patrick Metropolitan Division are just wannabe high-rollers.
Per CapGeek, which isn't perfect but is a good approximation, here are the Metro Division cap hits as of late August 2013, ranked by projected available cap space.
Note: "Cap Hit" includes bonuses, but "Cap Space" excludes bonuses and is measured vs. a $64.3 million cap
|Team||Cap Hit (inc. bonuses)||Cap Space (exc. bonuses)||Roster|
|Blue Jackets (10th)||$66,808,809||$2,016,191||23|
1. Pushing $70 million? Jeez, Flyers gonna Flyer. But Chris Pronger will of course hit LTIR again once the season starts.
2. The Pens have very little wiggle room.
3. Well look at Columbus, big spending nouveau riche. (They've actually been big spenders for a few years, but some of it has been, well, Wisniewskily directed.)
4. Curse you Bob Gainey for giving up Ryan McDonaugh for Scott freaking Gomez. And curse you McDonaugh for not demanding more on your fresh RFA contract.
5. The Capitals have a few more moves to make and are tight to the cap. Marcus Johansson is an RFA coming off his ELC. They're not done yet.
6. Ilya's "retirement," so convenient for all involved.
7. Carolina's cap hit is deceptive. They still have bodies to add for the opening roster. They are also averaging over $7 million per Staal ... but if Jared Staal makes the roster that figure drops down to under $5 million per!
8. You gotta watch those Islanders. They're liable to pick up whatever trash you waive to the curb.