How A Players Salary Cap Hit Is Determined

The Collective Bargaining Agreement is a very complicated aspect of the NHL. A simple part of the CBA is how each individual players cap hit is calculated. Most would probably guess a players cap hit is whatever his salary is that season. That guess would be incorrect, although on the right track.

A players cap hit is determined by calculating the average amount of annual salary. Instead of boring you with descriptions, let’s jump right into examples.

Bryan Bickell – Signed a 4-year contract in 2013.

Salary

  • Year 1 – $3 mil
  • Year 2 – $4 mil
  • Year 3 – $4.5 mil
  • Year 4 – $4.5 mil
  • Total -$16 mil / 4 years = $4 mil average annual value

Cap Hit

  • Year 1 – $4 mil
  • Year 2 – $4 mil
  • Year 3 – $4 mil
  • Year 4- $4 mil

A players cap hit does not change year by year during a contact. Even though Bickell is paid $4.5 mill this season (year 3 of his contract), his cap hit remains $4 mil which is his average annual salary.

Let’s look at one more contract.

Artem Anisimov – signed a 5 year extension that will kick in this offseason.

Salary

  • Year 1 – $5.75 mil
  • Year 2 – $5 mil
  • Year 3 – $5 mil
  • Year 4 – $4 mil
  • Year 5 – $3 mil
  • Total – $22.75 / 5 years = $4.55 million average annual value

Cap Hit

  • Year 1 – $4.55 mil
  • Year 2 – $4.55 mil
  • Year 3 – $4.55 mil
  • Year 4 – $4.55 mil
  • Year 5 – $4.55 mil

See, not everything about the salary cap is complicated.

So when someone tries telling you:

“Bro, the Anisimov contract is a steal. The cap hit in his last two seasons is $4 mil and then $3 mil.”

Let them know that his cap hit is actually $4.55 mil for all five years of his contract.