How Much Cap Space Do the Flyers Really Have?

Michael Leighton's inevitable return from injury has spurred a lot of conversation regarding how much room the Flyers have under the NHL's salary cap - and rightfully so.

The problem, however, is that people don't seem to know exactly how much room the Flyers have, and thus exactly how much room they have to create. We've been over this before, and I previously broke it down even further, but there is still confusion.

In a post on December 2nd, Inquirer writer Sam Carchidi said this:

The Flyers are about $700,000 under the $59.4 million salary cap, according to assistant general manager Barry Hanrahan.

That article was linked in that day's Fly By, but today, CSNPhilly writer Tim Panaccio said this:

The Flyers have a little more than $550,000 in salary cap space, per Capgeek.com.

While one would be inclined to believe Flyers assistant General Manager Hanrahan, CapGeek is one of the most trusted sources for those of us outside the NHL's inner circle. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if either Hanrahan or Panaccio are correct.

Jump for a screenshot and a link to CapGeek.

Capgeek_medium

You can either click the image to zoom or click here to go to the full CapGeek page.

The first indication that the Flyers don't have "a little more than $550,000 in salary cap space" is right there in the top left corner: The Flyers have spent just under $48,000 over the salary cap so far. Since the cap is calculated daily - evidenced by Eric Wellwood projecting to have a year-end cap hit of $37,419 as opposed to his $580,000 "cap hit" - the Flyers don't actually have any cap space.

Further, in the top-right corner, you see the daily calculation, which shows the Flyers spending more than $4,000 per day over the salary cap. Continuing on the theme, if you look in the bottom-left box, you see the Flyers are projected (taking the remainder of every player's cap hit and adding them up) to go over the salary cap by just under $508,000.

Lastly, the bottom-right box sees the Flyers on pace to spend $556,876 over the salary cap, which not coincidentally is the same amount of projected LTIR. This is because placing a player on LTIR doesn't remove their cap hit, it excuses the Flyers for going over the cap by an amount up to the total of (number of days on LTIR * daily cap hit of players on LTIR).

So if one were to look at how much cap space the Flyers have as of today, they only need to look at the green box at the bottom that says "Projected cap space - $0". That's because the Flyers have been spending OVER the salary cap every. single. day. The only reason they can do this is because Michael Leighton is on LTIR. When he comes off, the Flyers must get back under the daily limit, which requires them to cut $4,071 in daily spending. If you take that to the bottom of CapGeek's page, just look for any player making over that much per day (in this case, Ville Leino and his $800,000 yearly cap hit) and someone must go.

It's this reason that led me to say in the article linked above:

If [Matt] Walker is waived, the Flyers would then be over $5,000 below the daily cap limit, putting them on pace to be over $640,000 under the yearly cap. That's still not enough to cover all the potential bonuses, but it gives them room.

So: How much cap space do the Flyers really have? As of right now, $0. But if Matt Walker is waived, the Flyers will have roughly $640,000 (the calculation has changed because a week has passed) in cap space.

I guess the question then becomes: When Barry Hanrahan said the Flyers are "about $700,000" under the salary cap, was he assuming Matt Walker would be waived? Because as we stand on December 2nd, neither Tim Panaccio nor Barry Hanrahan are correct; The Flyers don't have any cap space. Yet.

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