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Where do the Knights stand salary-cap wise this offseason?

The Golden Knights got some clarification last week on where they stand before the start of NHL free agency July 1.

They still have a number of questions to answer between now and then.

The NHL and NHL Players Association announced before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 8 that the salary cap’s upper limit will increase by $4.5 million next season to $88 million. That’s up from the league’s previous projections.

Any extra flexibility is welcome news for the Knights, who have a number of players set to become free agents this offseason.

They still have about $80.11 million dedicated to their top nine forwards, top seven defensemen and top two goaltenders. That gives them about $7.89 million to work with.

The Knights’ first order of business will be seeing which of their six pending unrestricted free agents they’ll be able to retain. They also have two important restricted free agents in left wing Pavel Dorofeyev and defenseman Kaedan Korczak that need new contracts.

The headliner is right wing Jonathan Marchessault, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy winner for playoff MVP.

Marchessault said May 28 discussions had not yet started with general manager Kelly McCrimmon on a new contract. The two sides still have two weeks to work things out before the 33-year-old hits the open market.

Marchessault remains the Knights’ top priority. The Original Misfit said after the season he hopes to stay with the organization. McCrimmon said he wants to keep Marchessault as well.

The key question will be how much money will be left over if and when an extension happens. Marchessault’s last contract carried an annual average value of $5 million and it’s hard to see him taking a pay cut after scoring a career-high 42 goals last season. That could make if difficult for the Knights to bring back their other pending unrestricted free agents in center Chandler Stephenson, left wing William Carrier, defenseman Alec Martinez and right wings Michael Amadio and Anthony Mantha.

Discussions should start to pick up around the draft June 28 at The Sphere. It’ll be an exciting time for the Knights as hosts. The event will also bring agents and other general managers to town, which should lead to plenty of conversations.

The Knights got much of their offseason business done during the draft last season.

They traded right wing Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Day 1 last year and also signed left wing Ivan Barbashev to a five-year, $25 million contract extension.

The Knights brought goaltender Adin Hill back on a two-year, $9.8 million contract the day after the draft.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team is busy during the event again. The Knights know the financial figures they’re working with next season. Now all that’s left to do is chart a course they believe will get them back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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