Ask SenShot – The Ottawa Senators and The Salary Cap


Welcome to the first weekly post called Ask SenShot.  Earlier this week I tweeted out a call for questions about the Senators and the NHL, and I would answer some of them in a new weekly post.

This week, I got a question from

"“@triplem82: @alfieisgod what is the penalty to the #Sens if they remain under the salary cap floor, as they currently are right now? #asksenshot"

Well, the answer is not a difficult one. Technically, the Senators are not below the salary cap floor.  The Salary Cap for this year is actually $60 million.  The agreement allows a special exemption for teams to spend up to $70.2 million because that was the number that teams worked with in the summer and would avoid a rollback or massive upheaval in terms of buyouts.  The exemption for next year will fall to $64.3M, which was the cap last year. Then, in year three and onward, the cap will equal 50% of revenues and there will be no exemptions.

Jan 19, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; Ottawa Senators defense Erik Karlsson (65) during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Salary floor, however, is set at $16M below the cap figure, which would be $44M on a cap of $60M. So the Senators and their cap hit of just over $54M falls well within the salary window. It would be just under the $54.2M that the floor would have been on a cap of $70.2M.

There is no set penalty for being below the salary floor at any given time.  Although the exact details of the new CBA are not yet available, the last CBA allowed sanctions such as fines of up to $5 million, loss of draft picks, forfeiture of games and discipline for team management.  I know that the league office would not approve transactions that would put a team over  the cap, but it is tougher to police when a team is below the floor.

I hope this answers your question, @triplem82.  Thanks for asking.

If you have a question, please send it along.  There are three ways you can ask – tweet your question to me @alfieisgod with the hashtag #asksenshot; email me with the subject line Ask SenShot, or ask your question on our Facebook Page.