Consider the newly found CAP space in Vegas and Washington

In the past few days, two teams in somewhat similar positions, permanent contenders who need to improve to compete but with limited funds, have found some salary cap space, albeit for different and ultimately unhelpful reasons. For the Vegas Golden Knights, they traded the veteran striker Evgeny Dadunov versus the defense man Shea Weber, who was injured and is unlikely to play again in the NHL. Washington, D.C. lost center Niklas Backstrom He will likely undergo an LTIR after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery on Friday, a procedure that would require a lengthy recovery time, if not end his career completely. With what appears to be a new space for caps they may not have fully anticipated, both teams have some flexibility to make the moves they need this summer, retaining players and possibly replacing talent they have lost.

Vegas is currently just over $2.6 million above the salary cap cap, but once Weber’s LTIR is taken into account, they’ll have exactly $5.2 million in cap space. Since the cover space was created with LTIR, they won’t accumulate any more. With major RFAs including Brett HoudinAnd the Nicholas HaigAnd the Nicholas RoyAnd the Keegan Kolisaras well as UFA and the original Golden Knight Riley Smith To re-sign, it’s hard to imagine Vegas would be able to add any additional talent, and you might be in a tough position to just bring back those five alone without making an extra move. However, the space created gives Vegas a chance to not tie their hands and be able to get some leverage in any additional vertical deals they might be looking to make. The primary issue they will have to deal with is that cover space has come at the expense of Dadonov, a talented veteran who has scored 43 points in 78 games, not a magical season but production that will be missed, especially if Vegas can’t at least find a way to keep Smith in the fold. also.

Heading to the East Coast, Washington has already stood out in a much more comfortable setting than Vegas, with a touch of less than $9 million of space available this season. With Backstrom injured and a potential trip to LTIR, Washington will have just under $19.2 million in the cover space in which to operate. Not all of this can be spent on additions to the list, but after contracts are awarded to pending free agents, including Marcus JohanssonAnd the Johan LarssonAnd the Justin Schultz On the side of the UFA and synonymous with the goal Vitik Vanishek And the Ilya Samsonov On the RFA side, the capitals should have a few million to work with. The problem with this is, after another first-round exit in the playoffs, the Capitals really needed some upgrades to their roster, and the departure of a star like Backstrom only adds to that need. Not only does Washington have to add, but they have to replace producing one of their establishment’s all-time greats. The team has two options to add production in the middle, including the young striker Conor McMichael who has had 18 points in 68 games this season in the NHL and could be ready to break through 2022-23, a high probability Hendricks Laberwho made his NHL debut this season before making a comeback for another strong season in QMJHL.

The recent changes seem to mean more for Washington, and the league, than they do in Vegas, though they do buy Vegas some time, and strength, in their negotiations, especially those focused on creating more space. As for the capitals, it offers more flexibility and creates another interesting buyer in the free trade and agency markets, and an interesting opportunity for interested players who may have the chance to play with greats like Alex OvechkinAnd the John CarlsonAnd the Evgeny Kuznetsov.