The Arizona Coyotes don't tend to spend much money. With an internal budget much lower than the NHL's salary cap, and a bevy of young players and stopgap veterans, the Coyotes aren't shelling out big bucks. But for the money they do spend, who gets the most? Let's see who takes up the most space on the payroll for the Coyotes.
The Raw Numbers
The Coyotes have one of the least expensive teams in the NHL. According to General Fanager, the Coyotes pay $52,156,944 in salary, which is 29th in the league. Only the Anaheim Ducks rank lower, which is surprising given the big names on their team and their success in the Western Conference (though they still have to sign RFAs Carl Hagelin and Jakob Silfverberg).
In terms of cap hit, the Coyotes rank 27th in the league with $56,724,204. They have the 4th most cap space in the league with $14,675,976, $3,924,204 above the cap floor. The Coyotes are not going to spend to the cap given their small-market status and constant volatility.
The Player Breakdown
In order, Mike Smith, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan are the three highest-paid players on the team. Mike Smith collects $6.5 million this season, but only $5.667 million against the cap. OEL is next, with a cap hit of $5.5 million and a salary of $6 million. Doan rounds out the top three by making $5.3 million against the cap, and $4.5 million in raw salary.
Forgetting Chris Pronger's dead cap weight (he makes $525k in actual salary), there is a drop-off in $ to the next tier of players. Antoine Vermette, Mikkel Boedeker, Zybnek Michalek, Martin Hanzal, Boyd Gordon and Nicklas Grossman all make between $3.75 and $3 million.
Thanks to a back-loaded deal, Brad Richardson will count for $2.083 million against the cap while making only $1.75 million in salary this year. Everybody else - Steve Downie, John Scott, Joe Vitale, Tobias Rieder, Craig Cunningham, Connor Murphy, Klas Dahlbeck, Michael Stone, and Anders Lindback - make under $2 million in both salary and cap hits.
Overall, the team has about $27 million tied up in forwards, $19 million in defense (including Pronger) and just under $7 million in goalies. The retained salary of Keith Yandle and Mike Ribiero's buyout comprise the rest of the Coyotes' NHL payroll.
*Inactive players are in grey
** The 2015-2016 contracts of Brandon Gormley and Louis Domingue are estimated
The Core Group
Assuming the Coyotes best 6 players on the ice next year are OEL, Vermette, Boedker, Hanzal, Doan and Smith, then the team's "core" salaries will cost the team around $27.65 million.
By contrast, Anaheim has about $31 million in salary tied up in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieska, Cam Fowler, and Frederik Andersen. The next lowest spending team - the New Jersey Devils - will spend about $29 million on a core group of Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Andy Greene, Adam Larsson, and Cory Schneider.
The Coyotes' lack of top end wealth is not surprising and in a rebuilding year it should not exist. The small variation in pay between their players is interesting, thanks in large part to relatively few long-term contracts and several young up and coming players on defense. As long as they continue to not commit to long-term expensive contracts, they should be in position to complement their young core players well in the future.