Avalanche’s cap space will be less than $81.5 million in 2021-22

Jun 10, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) and the bench react following the empty net goal scored by Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

An already tight salary cap is suddenly tighter for the 2021 Presidents’ Trophy winners.

The Avalanche finished their season with $1.74 million in cap overage because of bonuses to young star defenseman Cale Makar ($1.71 million) and rookie forward Alex Newhook ($34,000). With that number carrying into the following year, Colorado will have to juggle an already tight cap situation with a ceiling of just $79.76 million instead of $81.5 million, according to Puck Pedia.

It’s no secret that Avs general manager Joe Sakic is perhaps facing the toughest decisions of his career. Captain Gabe Landeskog, a pending unrestricted free agent, is unhappy with the current impasse facing the two sides just 13 days before free agency begins.

The possibility of a decade-long marriage ending with Landeskog walking in free agency is becoming more of a reality with each passing day. That could all change on a dime but it’s just one of the tough decisions Sakic faces.

The Avs have reportedly made formal offers of four, five and eight years to their nine-year captain — the latter of which is just over $41 million for the length of the deal, according to Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest.

The salary cap overages may also play a factor in the future of goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Vezina Trophy finalist is coming off a three-year deal that paid him $10 million. The Avs may not have the room to offer him more than $5 million unless they clear space elsewhere.

If Grubauer walks, the Avs may look at trading for Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, according to Frank Seravalli of Daily Face Off. Kuemper is on the last year of a deal that pays him $4.5 million. His salary could fit into Colorado’s structure better than Grubauer’s potential deal with the cap overages.