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NHL salary cap rises to $75 million, will that be enough for Caps to keep Oshie?

NHL salary cap rises to $75 million, will that be enough for Caps to keep Oshie?

The NHL's salary cap will increase by $2 million next season to $75 million with a floor of $55.4 million, the NHL and NHLPA announced Sunday.

The Players' Association has the option each season of increasing the cap with a 5-percent escalator clause. If they use it, however, it means a higher escrow payment from the players to the league. Had the NHLPA used its full escalator clause, it would have raised the cap to over $77 million. They instead elected to use a smaller percentage, thus the smaller increase to only $75 million.

An increase is good news for the cash-strapped Capitals who need all the money they can get to re-sign their restricted free agents. The biggest question on fans' minds, however, will be whether it is enough of an increase for the team to re-sign forward T.J. Oshie.

RELATED: Which players did the Caps leave unprotected?

Oshie was tied for the team lead in goals last season with 33. As an unrestricted free agent, he is expected to be one of the most highly sought after forwards this summer which means he will command a significant raise, somewhere in the range of $6 to 7 million per year. For a Washington team that still needs to re-sign restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov, that just may be too much money.

Had the salary cap increased to $77 million, there was a realistic chance the team could have re-signed Oshie. At $75 million, that may not be enough.

Plus, time is not on Washington's side. Kuznetsov is expected to get a sizable contract and how high his cap hit is will likely determine what moves the Caps' can make. That means that once the expansion draft is over, general manager Brian MacLellan will need to re-sign Kuznetsov and then re-sign Oshie all before July 1 when free agency opens. And that's only if they have enough money to re-sign their other RFAs, which they may not anyway.

The reality the Caps find themselves in is that their young free agents are their top priority. That means they just may not have enough money left for a 30-year-old winger even with the $2 million salary cap increase.

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Maples Leafs interested in trading for former Capital Nate Schmidt, per new report

Maples Leafs interested in trading for former Capital Nate Schmidt, per new report

Nate Schmidt, freshly claimed by the Las Vegas Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, is now drawing interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to a report from TVA's Louis Jean. 

Given the wheeling and dealing around the expansion draft, it's certainly possible the Knights chose Schmidt with plans of sending him to Toronto all along. 

But the eyebrow-raising part of this report is the supposed asking price – a second-round pick. The Capitals almost certainly could have negotiated a better deal with Las Vegas to keep Schmidt. 

George McPhee, general manager of the Knights, signed Schmidt as an undrafted free agent in his previous role as Caps GM. 

McPhee was quoted before the expansion draft as saying other teams could negotiate to hold onto their players. And Schmidt's potential to be a top-four defenseman as soon as next year should have incentivized Washington to do whatever it took to secure his future in D.C. 

So either this report is questionable or the Capitals weren't willing to give up more than Toronto (a second-round pick) to keep Schmidt. 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

JJ Regan and Jill Sorenson react to Nate Schmidt getting claimed by Vegas and talk about what that means for the Caps' plans this offseason. Plus, Tarik El-Bashir calls in from Chicago to get his reaction from the team and talk about what their plan is for the upcoming entry draft.

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @CSNCapitals@TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.

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