The Montreal Canadiens can really benefit from the flat salary cap

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 16: Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck against Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 16, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 16: Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck against Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 16, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 29TH: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

3) Revamped Free Agency

Of all the players in the league right now, the pending UFAs are going to be the most frustrating. If you’re a top producer, your first free-agent frenzy is meant to be your big payout. Especially if you’ve been on a cap-friendly deal for a number of years.

The flat cap is going to change things, and it’s not only because it’ll be on November 01st instead of July 01st.

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Competitive teams can’t afford to shell out a bunch of money on one player when they’ll need to ensure they have space to deal with their own. Something that could happen is we see shorter terms on these free agency deals. Instead of maxing out at seven years, there may be three-year deals kicking around that last the length of the cap constrictions. That way, when they become UFAs again, the cap may not be as restrictive and facilitate those usual paydays.

The Montreal Canadiens don’t have the biggest window to try to win something right now if we’re basing things on Price and Weber. They want to win now, and they can sell that to free agents on shorter terms. The only other teams with a decent amount of space that can accommodate this kind of thing are the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings, and they are trying to be bad.

New Jersey and Columbus are competition on that front, but the respect for Price and Weber could help push things forward.

By no means does this confirm or predict that the Montreal Canadiens are going to be the place to go once free agency opens. What it does mean is that Bergevin will have a lot more cards to play with than other teams are who are fully cap-strapped with the ceiling staying at $81.5 million next year. And that’s not the worst thing, it only going up by $1 million each of the next two years doesn’t help either.

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It’s all going to be circumstantial when looking at how the Habs get through this. Again, decisions will be key, and Bergevin can’t afford to make another financial mistake like the Alzner deal. If management stays on the right track, they could really take advantage of this flat cap, even if it looks like a massive problem at times.