NHL Sets Salary Cap at $79.5 Million, So How Much Can Sharks Spend This Summer?

UPDATE (June 22, 11:26 a.m. PT)The Sharks announced on Friday that they will buy out Paul Martin's contract. This article has been updated to reflect that. 

The Sharks will be able to spend up to $79.5 million on their roster this season, after the NHL and NHLPA announced the salary cap for the 2018-19 season. The salary floor was set at $58.8 million. 

That gives San Jose about $19.2 million in salary cap space, according to numbers from CapFriendly and The Mercury News' Paul Gackle,with forwards Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, and defenseman Dylan DeMelo set to become restricted free agents (RFAs) and Joe Thornton headlining the team's list of pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs).

The Sharks have cleared just over $6.8 million in salary cap space trading Mikkel Boedker to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and announcing on Friday that they will buy out Paul Martin. San Jose can have about an additional $1.8 million to work with if rookies Dylan Gambrell and Max Letunov start the season in the AHL. Should the club utilize the allowed offseason overage of 10 percent of the salary cap, it can add, approximately, up to $25.7 million in salary commitments this offseason.

All that space will be necessary, if recent reports are to be believed. They've been linked to two of the best free-agent forwards available: New York Islanders captain John Tavares and Russian winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who looks to return to NHL after five years in the KHL. Hockey Graphs' Matt Cane's contract model projects Tavares' contract would carry approximately a $10.6 million cap hit, while Kovalchuk is reportedly seeking a contract worth around $6 million annually. 

San Jose, or any of the other 30 teams, can sign any player to a contract worth up to $15.9 million annually, or 20 percent of the league's salary cap. That is the maximum amount as allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. 

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