2018-19 cap ceiling: Between $79.5-million, $80-million; how are the Kings affected? - LA Kings Insider

Some 10 floors below LAKI HQ at the Wynn Encore in Las Vegas, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman emerged from a hotel ballroom to inform an assembled group of reporters that the NHL’s salary cap ceiling is expected to rise to between $79.5-million and $80-million for 2018-19. Last season’s salary cap ceiling was $75-million.

Several items of note:

The note on escrow is an important and touchy subject. With a smaller escalator, a smaller percentage of player paychecks will be set aside into escrow. Via TSN’s Frank Seravalli on Tuesday, “Initial projection is that player escrow withholding starts under 10% for first time since 2011-12.” In the first quarter of 2016-17, for example, the percentage of paychecks that went into escrow was 15.5%, per Seravalli. Last year, instead of a full 5% escalator, which had previously been voted on annually by the NHLPA to inflate the salary cap, players agreed on a partial, 2.5% escalator, similar to what LAKI had theorized and reported on in 2015. Again, numbers relating to the 2018-19 cap have not yet been finalized.


NHL teams may keep 23 players on the active roster. As of now, in advance of player movement, there appear to be 22 players currently under contract with the most realistic shots of making the team. That doesn’t mean they will make the team, nor does this include Tobias Rieder, who the team will circle back to next week around when qualifying offers go out on Monday, or players like Sheldon Rempal, who is expected to open the season in the AHL. It also does not include Paul LaDue, the restricted free agent who will draw the most notice and should be expected to make the team.

The Kings are also looking to add offense through trades and free agency, which could come at the cost of players whose grips on roster spots may be more tenuous than others. In other words, there’s a good chance these numbers and available roster spots will change by this time next week. Divided by position and listed from highest to lowest cap hits, the combined cap hits are:

Forwards (13 / $38,859,394)
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, Trevor Lewis, Nate Thompson, Kyle Clifford, Alex Iafallo, Gabriel Vilardi, Adrian Kempe, Michael Amadio, Jonny Brodzinski

Defensemen (7 / $24,350,000)
Drew Doughty, Dion Phaneuf, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Derek Forbort, Daniel Brickley, Oscar Fantenberg

Goaltenders (2 / $6,475,000)
Jonathan Quick, Jack Campbell

On top of that, there’s also Matt Greene’s buyout, which counts $833,333 against the cap, and Mike Richards’ cap recapture and termination penalties, which count $1,570,000 against the cap. Added up, that’s $72,087,727 of combined salaries and expenses, which would give the Kings roughly between $7,412,273 and $7,912,273 of cap space, based on today’s unofficial projections.

Again, cap space is fluid, especially at this time of the year, and there’s the potential for that number to rise based on team transactions. And while the Kings, pre-player movement, don’t exactly have a surplus of cap space comparatively, there’s still enough room for the Kings to give themselves a shot at players with the potential to make an impact, even while saving enough space for future seasons to be able to accommodate Drew Doughty’s impending pay raise and bringing LaDue under contract.

In addition to LaDue, other RFAs include Rieder, Justin Auger, Jordan Subban, Alex Lintuniemi and Kurtis MacDermid. Players eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 are Torrey Mitchell, Christian Folin, Kevin Gravel, Andrew Crescenzi, Michael Mersch and Scott Wedgewood.

Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.