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After a pair of days where new GM Marc Bergevin spent some serious money to
shore up the Habs’ depth and re-sign franchise goalie Carey Price, one question
remains.  Does Montreal have enough money to spend on a top six forward? 
Although right now the club is well under the cap, they may not have as much
money left as you think.

As most of you know by now, the salary cap for 2012-13 is currently $70.2
million.  Of course that’s not a hard figure as the new CBA will dictate
what the actual cap is before the puck drops.  The common consensus is that
it will wind up dropping; if the owners were content with the cap structure that
presently exists, they would have exercised their option to extend the CBA. 
(This is why union leader Don Fehr keeps saying next year could start without a
CBA, they know that it’s not their end that is unhappy with where the cap and
floor are, call it calculated early posturing.)  So as much as a team can
spend up to $70.2 million, they’re going to want to leave themselves a bit of
wiggle room for when it goes down and if there isn’t a rollback like there was

Under Contract

As it stands, Montreal has just over $62.7 million in committed cap hit for
the upcoming season.  Here is a look at who is already signed (and yes,
Gomez appears here as the buyout window has expired and we can’t say
definitively that his contract will be buried in the AHL).


Max Pacioretty ($1.625 M) –
David Desharnais ($0.85M) – Erik Cole ($4.5 M)
Rene Bourque ($3.333M) – Tomas Plekanec ($5 M) – Brian Gionta ($5 M)
Travis Moen ($1.85 M) – Lars Eller ($1.325 M) – Colby Armstrong ($1
Brandon Prust ($2.5 M) – Scott Gomez ($7.357 M) – Ryan White ($0.688 M)
Petteri Nokelainen ($0.575 M)

Total Forwards:
$35.60 M


Andrei Markov ($5.75 M) –
Alexei Emelin ($2 M)
Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 M) – Josh Gorges ($3.9 M)
Francis Bouillon ($1.5 M) – Raphael Diaz ($1.225 M)
Yannick Weber ($0.85 M)

Total Defencemen:
$19.475 M


Carey Price ($6.5 M) – Peter
Budaj ($1.15 M)

Total Goaltenders:
$7.65 M

This gives the Habs a committed cap hit of roughly $62.75 million.

Restricted Free Agents

All but one surefire Hab has been re-signed.  The lone remaining RFA is
P.K. Subban, whose contract is somewhat challenging to predict as the amount of
years will significantly affect the cap hit.  I’m going to go with a bit of
an in-between estimate for him and place him at $3.75 M which should put the
Habs somewhere in the realm of a 3 year deal.

With Subban, the now 23-man roster sits at $66.5 million, just $3.7 million under the cap which most expect will go down
in the new CBA. 

Potential Callups

As we know all too well from last year, injuries can and will
strike.  A wise team will leave some money aside to help combat the less
significant injuries that wouldn’t be eligible for LTIR (if that’s still around
in the new CBA).  This is where the other remaining RFA, Blake Geoffrion
also comes into play.  There is also
the potential for 3rd overall pick Alex Galchenyuk to make the team. 
Although he’s unsigned, it’s safe to predict his cap hit will be over $3 million
including bonuses.  (For comparison sake, the past three 3rd overall picks
have had cap hits of $3.25 M, $3.2 M, and $3.2 M).  As for those under
contract, here are some of the players who may spend some time with Montreal.


Cap Hit
Nathan Beaulieu $1.275 M
$1.17 M
Jarred Tinordi $1.083 M
$0.87 M
Michael Bournival $0.87 M
$0.6 M
Aaron Palushaj $0.6 M

Suffice it to say, a good chunk of the $3+ million left easily could be taken
care of by callups.  The present situation also suggests that Galchenyuk
may be in tough to make the team as his cap hit alone (including bonuses) would
take the team nearly right to the upper limit.  So, is there enough space for
another top-6 forward?  As the situation stands now, I’d have to say there
isn’t.  If the RFA’s sign shorter term deals, there may be a bit of money
freed up but barring a trade in the weeks ahead, this will probably be the
majority of the roster heading into training camp in September…if there is