SBD/Issue 154/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Salary Cap Gives NHL Parity, But Money Still Helps For Playoffs

Predators One Of Only Two Teams To Make The
Playoffs After Spending Less Than $50M This Year

While the salary cap "has evened the playing field" in the NHL, money "still has a say in making the playoffs and staying competitive," according to Kevin Allen of USA TODAY. When the salary cap was introduced, Red Wings GM Ken Holland "predicted every team would miss the playoffs at least once over the next five years," and the Devils, Sharks and Red Wings are the "only teams to make the playoffs every season." But sixteen teams "spent 94% or more of the five-year cap total" since '05-06, and 13 of them "have made the playoffs at least three times." Nine teams have "spent less than 91%," but only the Predators (four) and Capitals (three) "made it more than once" to the playoffs. Four NHL teams "spent less than" $50M this season, two of which, the Predators and Coyotes, made the playoffs. The Predators have been the "most efficient at managing the budget," as the team "never has spent more than 91% of the annual salary cap while making the playoffs four times in five years." Predators GM David Poile said that the "secret to success on a budget is drafting well, building a strong farm system and scouting well enough to identify free agent bargains." Still, Allen notes "good scouting does not fully offset the fact that most teams spend $10[M] more than the Predators." Coyotes GM Don Maloney: "For teams like us and Nashville, we can't afford to make any contract mistakes" (USA TODAY, 4/23).

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