Several general managers received good news today when they were informed that the NHL salary cap would be set at $64 million for the upcoming season, an increase of nearly $5 million from last year’s cap.
Speculation occurred for some time that the cap would raise again, although most believed the increase would be more moderately set around $62 million. Last year’s salary cap was $59.4 million.
Several teams will be thankful for the increase with free agency set to begin in two weeks on July 1. The Philadelphia Flyers were in arguably the worst shape with less than $500,000 available to round out their roster. The $5 million increase will give the Flyers more room to negotiate with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov without having to trade away too many other assets to create cap room.
The increase also bodes well for teams like the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils who are trying to retain their young restricted free agents, namely Shea Weber, Steve Stamkos and Zach Parise respectively.
For free agent players this season, the increase could mean a bigger pay day. While Brad Richards remains the most highly coveted free agentof the summer, this increase means a huge bidding war could break out for his services due to the lack of quality goal scorers available in this summer’s market. A player like Brooks Laich could also benefit heavily. Laich has already been linked to several teams as a possible free agent target due to his consistent offensive numbers and his hard-working style of play. A cap increase means Laich could see a higher pay day than otherwise expected and will certainly see an increase from the $2 million he made previously. Defensemen such as James Wisniewski, Andrei Markov and Tomas Kaberle could also cash in this offseason thanks to the increase.
The salary cap has risen every season since the NHL lockout in 2004-05 where it was originally set at $39 million. The salary cap floor for the upcoming season will be $48 million.
Give us your feedback! What do you want to see your team do with the $5 million increase in the salary cap?