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2015 Pre-Free agency NHL Positional Salary Cap Spenditures

After scouring the internet for salary cap rankings, Spotrac.com has a unique look at how NFL franchises allocate money per position. I took the idea and worked the numbers for the NHL using numbers from GeneralFanager.com. Thanks to both Spotrac.com for the idea and GeneralFanager.com for the data. Salary cap allocations are for the 2015-16 season only and before any teams have signed their Restricted Free Agents or Unrestricted Free Agents.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before collecting the data, I expected to see a correlation in the the amount of money the upper-echelon teams and to a certain position group. What I didn't expect was the randomness of where cap spending of the 16 playoff teams ended up. Sure, the Chicago Blackhawks were in the top 10 for total cap spending, but the Anaheim Ducks are 23rd overall in total cap hit. The Washington Capitals, Predators, and Flames make up five of the bottom teams in terms of total salary.

The Minnesota Wild rank 8th in the league in terms of total cap hit, just ahead of teams like the Kings, Senators, and Rangers. Minnesota falls in rank to number 14 when you tally up total salary. This puts them behind teams like the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, and Penguins.

But enough of the stuff you can find on General Fanager.

To no surprise the Wild spend a good amount of money on the wings and on defense. Chuck Fletcher has the second most money allocated to left wing in the league. Really, with contracts like Zach Parise's on the books it should inflate the numbers pretty quickly. The Canucks were tops in the league - spending $19 million on the left flank. Minnesota is also Top 3 for the right wing position as well. The Wild have a lot of depth and a ton of money spent on the wings and if they want to shed salary, that may be the place to start.

Ryan Suter has a $98 million contract as well and you'd think the Wild are heavy spenders on blue liners. Yes, the over $19 million spent of defensemen is above the league average of $17 million, but the Wild have been lucky to have players that are still on reasonable RFA contracts or even entry-level as in Matt Dumba's. Minnesota is below teams like Washington, St. Louis, and Florida, but higher than Toronto, Los Angeles, and Islanders.

Most intriguing was the money spent on centers. Everyone knows the Wild need centers. With Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund's contracts yet to be signed, and Kyle Brodziak's contract coming off the books, the money isn't really going anywhere. The Wild are cap strapped and only have $10,550,000 committed for the position. That puts them at 24th for money spent on centers. Frankly, they haven't had the players in that position to spend money on, outside of Mikko Koivu. The Blackhawks are the biggest spenders on the pivot with over $26 million committed, and teams like the Penguins, Lightining, Blues, and Kings spending more than $20 million on a position that generational talent comes at a premium.

Ultimately, spending to the cap doesn't guarantee success. It all depends on how the money is allocated. It also matters on the type and how many star players a team has. It's no coincidence that the Blackhawks spend a ton on forwards because of Marian Hossa, and, of course, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Looking at the charts, you can see exactly where the Wild are lacking. Money may not mean everything, but it is interesting to see how the payrolls stacks up against the other 29 franchises. Think of it as a way to grade the performances of the general managers.

The full chart can be seen below:

Num Team Cap Hit Total Salary LW C RW D G
1 Flyers $69,395,595 $69,326,190 $1,812,500 $22,475,000 $11,850,000 $29,158,095 4,100,000
2 Lightning $67,887,973 $70,570,238 $4,227,499 $21,016,666 $7,461,666 $26,707,142 6,875,000
3 Canucks $65,794,166 $66,458,333 $19,000,000 $8,900,000 $16,400,000 $22,150,000 7,150,000
4 Canadiens $64,275,000 $64,100,000 $7,925,000 $12,000,000 $9,575,000 $27,712,500 7,062,500
5 Bruins $64,118,810 $63,150,000 $10,500,000 $22,027,143 $9,475,000 $15,116,667 7,000,000
6 Blackhawks $64,045,127 $76,863,333 $12,100,000 $26,788,332 $15,775,000 $15,438,461 7,337,500
7 Blue Jackets $62,804,640 $63,535,500 $11,050,000 $15,761,666 $14,408,333 $14,159,641 7,425,000
8 Wild $61,188,003 $61,139,167 $17,438,711 $10,550,000 $15,533,334 $19,265,959 4,666,666
9 Kings $59,947,727 $65,200,000 $4,950,000 $20,297,727 $10,750,000 $18,150,000 5,800,000
10 Senators $59,750,832 $61,082,500 $11,300,000 $9,281,666 $9,150,000 $22,244,166 7,775,000
11 Rangers $59,500,000 $68,480,556 $1,172,500 $6,500,000 $5,400,000 $25,950,000 9,950,000
12 Avalanche $58,000,594 $58,725,000 $14,354,761 $16,325,000 $5,945,833 $13,150,000 7,350,000
13 Average $63,059,039 $65,719,235 $9,652,581 $15,993,600 $10,977,014 $20,766,886 6,874,306
14 Penguins $57,731,666 $61,782,500 $7,662,500 $23,700,000 $8,000,000 $12,619,166 5,750,000
15 Blues $57,009,166 $58,052,500 $8,150,000 $20,550,000 $6,072,500 $19,936,666 2,500,000
16 Hurricanes $55,952,498 $56,432,500 $8,161,666 $17,705,833 $7,000,000 $13,159,999 8,550,000
17 Red Wings $55,907,877 $62,154,167 $11,983,333 $16,103,333 $3,954,545 $17,837,500 6,029,166
18 Sharks $54,958,330 $55,370,000 $9,425,832 $22,861,666 $3,326,666 $14,704,166 1,600,000
19 Islanders $54,749,642 $62,474,167 $8,487,500 $20,913,333 $8,550,000 $18,098,809 4,500,000
20 Stars $54,339,999 $54,950,833 $10,900,000 $17,050,000 $5,739,166 $16,250,000 5,900,000
21 Maple Leafs $54,339,999 $62,132,500 $9,500,000 $8,837,500 $13,300,000 $18,369,166 2,300,000
22 Oilers $53,057,916 $53,383,750 $13,975,000 $10,617,500 $13,817,500 $12,269,166 2,300,000
23 Panthers $52,283,707 $54,065,208 $5,200,000 $13,411,666 $6,125,000 $19,763,708 6,383,333
24 Ducks $51,405,830 $52,160,000 $5,925,000 $15,744,166 $10,791,666 $17,073,332 1,871,666
25 Capitals $49,765,959 $49,832,500 $12,463,461 $11,775,000 $4,560,832 $20,016,666 950,000
26 Jets $48,152,498 $50,065,000 $5,228,333 $8,563,333 $6,800,000 $23,535,832 4,475,000
27 Devils $47,895,833 $50,006,667 $16,750,000 $16,900,000 $825,000 $6,445,833 6,725,000
28 Flames $47,854,566 $47,475,833 $5,325,000 $17,000,000 $4,000,000 $22,937,066 4,500,000
29 Sabres $42,085,355 $46,911,865 $12,762,500 $11,244,166 $4,250,000 $12,528,689 1,300,000
30 Predators $40,355,474 $46,845,000 $10,500,000 $4,144,166 $1,000,000 $16,986,308 7,725,000
31 Coyotes $34,194,442 $34,726,944 $2,500,000 $8,291,666 $6,153,333 $7,513,333 5,666,666