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NHL Increases 2024-25 Salary Cap, Exceeds Expectations; Where the Devils Stand

The NHL officially increases the salary cap to $88 million. So where do the Devils stand with the extra, unexpected cash?

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Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (42) passes the puck against New Jersey Devils center Dawson Mercer (91) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

In a pleasant surprise for the New Jersey Devils and 31 other organizations, the NHL announced on Saturday that they have increased the salary cap for the 2024-25 season. We knew general managers would have more money to work with, we just didn’t expect it to increase this much. That was just the very beginning of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s good news regarding the NHL salary situation. In attendance for the 2024 Stanley Cup Final, Bettman addressed he media before Game One of the championship round, and boldly predicted a “robust” increase in the salary cap moving forward.

“I predict it will continue to go up,” Bettman explained. “Obviously, the number of years we had with flat and modest increases was necessary to recapture how much was overpaid and how much the escrow built up during COVID.

“I believe we’re going to continue to see robust growth in the cap.”

The NHL salary cap in 2024-25 will be $88 million, which is a $300,000 increase from the anticipated $87.7 million projection. The 5.39% increase may not seem like much, but it certainly made all parties happy, including the Devils.

Now, the Devils will have $19,123,603 to work with this summer, as opposed to the projected $18,823,603 from before.

The most notable restricted free agents the Devils have to make decisions on are Dawson Mercer, Nolan Foote, Akira Schmid (arbitration rights), Nico Daws, Santeri Hatakka, and Graeme Clarke.

Michael McLeod and Cal Foote will also be restricted free agents (with arbitration rights), however, they’re both on indefinite leaves of absences and their futures are uncertain due to the legal situation they’re both in.

As for the unrestricted free agents, the Devils have five players who could hit open market on July 1st. Those players include Brendan Smith, Nick DeSimone, Tomas Nosek, Chris Tierney, and Kappo Kahkonen.

The only player who has the potential to see a significant pay raise here is Mercer. The remaining RFA’s are bubble NHLers/AHLers, and UFA’s are mostly depth.

The Devils are also moving into the final year of their $250,000 in dead cap space owed to retired NHLer, Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey is also on the hook for $1,538,897 in bonus overages.

General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is expected to make a few upgrades throughout his lineup, most notably in goal and on the blueline according to Fitzgerald himself. Sooner than later, the Devils’ $19,123,603 in cap space could quickly disappear.

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