Money matters: Stars and the salary cap

Here’s a look at the salary and salary cap situation for the Dallas Stars now that Nicklas Grossman has agreed to a two-year, $3.25 million deal with the club.

The Stars now have just under $42.2 million committed in actual salary to 21 likely roster players.

The two players left to sign are forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen. The Stars’ budget is said to be around $45 million so they would have around $3 million or so left to spend and fall within that range. There’s the possibility they could sign Jere Lehtinen, but if they do they’d have to move a player off the roster to make room.

The Stars have been able to keep salary costs under control for this coming season by getting some players to take less money in the first year of their recent multi-year deals.

For example, Steve Ott’s contract average’s $2.95 million over four years but his salary this season is $2.1 million. Kari Lehtonen’s contract averages $3.55 million over three years and he gets $2.7 million this season. Loui Eriksson averages almost $4.3 million over six years but he takes in $3.2 million in 2010-11.

In the case of Neal, it wouldn’t be a surprise that if he gets a two-year deal that the money would be distributed in the same way – less money in the first year and more in the second.

When it comes to salary cap costs, the Stars the Stars are just under $47 million for those 21 likely roster players. The cap cost figure includes the $1,937,500 hit the Stars still take for the New York Rangers claiming Sean Avery off re-entry waivers.

The upper limit of the salary cap this season is $59.4 million and the salary cap floor is $43.4 million.

Here’s a look at the Stars’ likely roster players along with 2010-11 salary and cap hit. I’ve used Andrew Raycroft as the backup goaltender. He and Brent Krahn will battle for the position in training camp and preseason.

Dallas Stars 2010-11 salary and salary cap costs

Likely roster players for 2010-11