Montreal Canadiens: There’s nothing wrong with having extra cap space

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Doug Wilson and Marc Bergevin attend the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Doug Wilson and Marc Bergevin attend the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are looking to have back-to-back seasons where they start with a decent amount of cap space which isn’t a problem whatsoever.

There’s been heavy back and forth between Montreal Canadiens fans in the last week or so involving the team’s salary cap situation. For the second season in a row, Marc Bergevin will be having a relatively good amount of space at $7.8 million.

The Habs had roughly $8.5 million going into the 2017-18 season because of the blunders involving Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov. This time around its similar, but at the same time different.

Bergevin just didn’t use it. However, one could argue that if some of those top free agents were willing to explore signing in Montreal, it would have been. Paul Stastny comes to mind, but things not working out on that front may turn out to be a blessing in disguise long-term.

(If you want a laugh, depending on your opinion on it, @EvilBergy had a funny tweet depicting the conversation yesterday).

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A lot of the rebuttals I’ve seen against the decision to keep the space is that Bergevin isn’t making an attempt to create a competitive lineup. But there aren’t any available players on the open market who can be difference makers, otherwise, they’d already be signed.

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At this point in the offseason, all who are waiting for contracts are depth options, save for Rick Nash who may choose to retire. And even if he wanted to play next season, the Montreal Canadiens don’t need another winger.

The fact of the matter is, it’s more than okay for the Habs to go into this season with the amount of cap space they have, especially in a time where space is a premium. That Joel Armia deal probably doesn’t occur if Montreal doesn’t have the room to take on Steve Mason‘s contract and buy it out. And it wasn’t just Armia, but those two draft picks are important as well.

The odds are slim but talent has been found in fourth and seventh rounds before. Think about Cayden Primeau who looks like a star in net (seventh-round pick).

That cap space could possibly be used for something similar during the season. If a team is in need of a third-party to help facilitate a deal, the Montreal Canadiens can be the helping hand and receive something in return for their services.

Whether the goal for the Habs in the 2018-19 season is to be competitive or not, staying $7.8 million away from the cap ceiling is a weapon in of itself. Spending aimlessly isn’t going to make the team any better as there are already lineup complications right now. It can still be a build with both Carey Price and Shea Weber in the fold as the year will be about building up the young talent on the team in Victor Mete, Noah Juulsen, and Nikita Scherbak to name a few.

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Perhaps Bergevin believes the team is in a better position to push next year and then chooses to flex some of his cap muscles. But for now, keeping that space is and will be for the best.