Back in June when the rosters first came out, we posted a look at all eight teams by their total salary cap hit. Now that the tournament is upon us, I want to update things for how life has changed in the last three months for both the teams who had to replace players and the players who got new contracts. We even have a change in rank from the last time!
Before we get into the details, I want to get to the disclaimers:
- As of this writing, there are eight unsigned RFAs playing and five UFAs. Until we get new contract information, we’re working off their last deals. That’s going to make a big difference for Team NA (Gaudreau, Trouba), Team Sweden (Rakell, Lindholm), and Team Russia (Kucherov, Orlov, Nesterov). It will make a smaller difference for the Czechs with Michal Jordan and Jakub Nakladal. The Finns won’t have much with Lauri Korpikoski, but Rasmus Ristolainen could be a good chunk. Team Europe has Ehrhoff and Seidenberg. I think the biggest effect on the rankings could be that Team North America could jump up in the rankings. Unsigned players will be highlighted in blue below.
- There are 11 KHL-only players in this tourney. They belong to Team Finland, the Czech Republic, and Russia. Where I have found salary information, I have put it in, but can’t speak for the accuracy of these dollars. Where I have found no information, I have put the player’s salary as $925K (representing the maximum Paragraph 1 salary of an NHL ELC). I have doubts about several of these, but an inaccurate placeholder is better than putting in $0. KHL players will be highlighted in Red.
- Players on ELCs have their bonuses factored into their salary as though they are earned.
- If a player already has an extension for next year that’s way bigger (looking at you, Ekblad and Hedman), only his current salary will be counted.
- Buyouts aren’t factored into a player’s cap hit (Hi Vanek!)
With that in mind, let’s get to the rankings!
#8 - Team Czech Republic
Current AAV: $65,109,166
Players Missing: Radko Gudas, Tomas Hertl, David Krejci
Replacements: Tomas Kundratek, Michal Birner, Roman Cervenka
New Contracts: Petr Mrazek, Dmitrij Jaskin, Tomas Plekanec
Salary Difference: -$4,167
The Czechs were already looking to be the worst team in the tournament and only got worse with the injury losses. Still without Jaromir Jagr, the Czech squad will rely on KHL replacements and hope that they can win this thing on the back of whichever goaltender best channels Dominik Hasek. This is the only team in the entire tournament which would fit under the NHL’s salary cap.
#7 - Team Finland
Current AAV: $73,081,666
Players Missing: None
New Contracts: Sami Vatanen, Patrik Laine,
Salary Difference: $3,412,500
The notoriously healthy Finns didn’t lose a single player to offseason injury/apathy, making them the only team in the tournament to avoid such a bug. Sami Vatanen’s new deal pushed them just over the NHL cap, but honestly with the three KHL players on there, I wouldn’t be surprised if that roster would fit. I think the Finns are going to rely on their goaltending and on slowing the pace down. They’re a pretty talented squad, but not among the elite here.
#6 - Team North America
Current AAV: $79,353,333
Players Missing: Sean Monahan
Replacements: Vincent Trocheck
New Contracts: Nathan MacKinnon, JT Miller, Mark Scheifele, Auston Matthews, Seth Jones, Sean Monahan
Salary Difference: $13,742,500
Congratulations to Team Windfall for jumping over the Finnish team thanks to a whole bunch of ELC deals expiring and being replaced. In fairness, I think this team is still kind of underpaid for the talent they have, but we’re also not counting eventual new deals for Gaudreau and Trouba, nor are we counting the near-doubling of Aaron Ekblad’s salary already set for next season. This team is going to be competitive and will be the poster example of how the NHL salary structure for young superstars helps set the blueprint for success in the cap era.
#5 - Team Europe
Current AAV: $86,554,167
Players Missing: Frederik Andersen
Replacements: Philipp Grubauer
New Contracts: Mikkel Boedker, Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek
Salary Difference: -$1,550,000
Not a lot changed for Europe since June other than how much I care about them as a Red Wings fan now that Nielsen and Vanek are joining Tatar. They lost their third-string goalie and two of their defensemen can’t find work in the NHL right now, but there’s talent on this squad. Probably not enough talent, but hey, I don’t see you out there representing your countr...uhh... amalgamated team.
#4 - Team Russia
Current AAV: $89,065,962
Players Missing: Slava Voynov (Good riddance)
Replacements: Nikita Nesterov
New Contracts: Pavel Datsyuk, Vladislav Namestnikov, Alexei Marchenko
Salary Difference: -$4,053,292
The second-biggest salary drop in the tourney leaves Team Russia right where they were in fourth place. This was achieved mostly because of Voynov being unwelcome and Datsyuk’s half-off KHL deal. The lost generation of Russian defensemen is going to continue to haunt this team, but they got where they are salary-wise on forwards and goalies and those positions are going to get them as far as they’re going to go in this tourney.
#3 - Team Sweden
Current AAV: $103,498,928
Players Missing: Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Alex Steen, Robin Lehner
Replacements: Hampus Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Rickard Rakell, Jhonas Enroth
New Contracts: Filip Forsberg, Loui Eriksson
Salary Difference: -5,575,000
The big movers & shakers in terms of lost salary, Team Sweden had a busy summer of filling out their ranks and then refilling them due to nagging injuries. New contracts helped offset almost $12M in injury-replaced salary (although in fairness, the Rakell and Lindholm hits are too low for the still-unsigned RFAs). The thing with all the replacements for Sweden is that a lot of people think they got better due to the Lindholm/Kronwall replacement. Personally I don’t know how much it offsets the forward replacements, but Sweden is going to be a powerhouse.
#2 - Team USA
Current AAV: $134,350,730
Players Missing: Ryan Callahan
Replacements: Kyle Palmieri
New Contracts: David Backes
Salary Difference: $350,000
A team dedicated to "not giving up an inch," Team USA is the first of the mega-spenders at this tournament. For all the AAV they’re throwing head-first into John Tortorella’s lap, Team USA has some self-imposed depth problems. They’re definitely good enough to place in this tournament and winning wouldn’t be out of the question, but they’re worse than Canada at every position, most-importantly coaching.
|James van Riemsdyk||$4,250,000|
#1 - Team Canada
Current AAV: $153,592,142
Players Missing: Jamie Benn, Duncan Keith, Jeff Carter
Replacements: Logan Couture, Jay Bouwmeester, Corey Perry
New Contracts: Steven Stamkos
Salary Difference: $4,963,812
It’s a testament to Team Canada that Stamkos got a $1M AAV raise and the team still ended up almost $5M more expensive thanks to injury replacements. Canada more than doubles up the current Salary cap and holds nearly a $20M edge over the US in terms of what guys get paid. The thing here is the same as with Team USA though: neither team was even allowed to pick from the relatively cheap talent pool of the young guns squad. This is Canada’s tournament to lose and them doing so should force the Hall of Fame to relocate to some shitty town in Ohio or something.