Cap space is a bit of a nebulous concept for most fans. In advance of the trade deadline in ten days, here is a quick primer on where the Dallas Stars stand on cap space and what that could mean on February 29.
Throughout the season, the various contracts of members of the team apply to the cap hit. It's basically a fraction of the player's salary for every day they are on the roster. At the deadline, the cap space a team can add is the total sum of cap hit values added to the current daily cap hit to stay under the cap. This is how teams are able to take on big contract players at the trade deadline.
In simpler words, it's not a hard cap based on the contracts you have on the roster currently. It's a moving target that teams have to manage the entire season, and can allow for big contracts with cap hits to be exchanged throughout the season.
The Dallas Stars have an estimated $10.3 million on the trade deadline day in cap hit that could be added to remain cap compliant this season, per General Fanager. That means that a big contract player such as P.K. Subban can be traded for at that time.
Of course, taking on Subban's contract would create some cap management wizadry starting in the summer, in order to make the team cap compliant and sign key free agents. However, a big cap hit on a contract that expires this summer is easily obtainable by the Stars.
They have the space. It's just a matter of whether they see anything on the trade market that adds to the roster for the playoff run. They also could make a trade for a big impact player with term and worry about the cap implications in the offseason, where Jim Nill has done work since coming to Dallas. It's a less likely route for a front office that has been diligent in keeping flexibility in the cap, but it's always a possibility.