The Penguins’ roster has been decimated by injuries lately, with 10 players sidelined in Saturday night’s 8-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. But to put those injuries into another perspective, just follow the money.
The Penguins’ 20-man roster in Saturday’s game added up to $38.9 million dollars, which is nearly $25 million bellow the NHL salary cap ($64.3), and close to $9 million bellow the cap bottom ($48.3) – the minimum amount that can be spent by a team.
The reason the Penguins’ cap number is so low is because they are missing many marquee players from the lineup, including Sidney Crosby
($8.7 million), Jordan Staal
($4 million), Kris Letang
($3.5 million), Paul Martin
($5 million) and Zbynek Michalek
($4 million). Those five players combine for nearly $25 million in salary that the team is missing, and that’s not including the other five players currently sidelined which brings the number to over $28 million.
With a healthy roster, the Penguins cap number is just slightly below the $64.3 salary cap. The injury situation for the Penguins is currently so bad that $28 million dollars is sidelined, yet the team has still found ways to win and remain competitive – a credit to the players and coaching staff.
One of the major changes for the NHL as it emerged from the lockout in 2005 was the implementation of a salary cap. The cap was a major victory for small market teams like Pittsburgh to help them compete with the bigger market clubs that could spend as much money as they wanted.
The Penguins, backed by the ownership group of Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, promised to spend as much money as they could to field a competitive team. Pittsburgh has spent close to that cap number and has been a Stanley Cup contender. Promise kept.