NHL salary cap looks to increase to 70 million during offseason

NHL salary cap looks to increase to 70 million during offseason
June 1, 2012, 2:12 am
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NEWARK, NJ The Bruins will have some extra room to operate with via player salaries should they choose to gamble with it over the summer.
With 3.3 billion in NHL revenues for the 2011-12 season, the salary cap should raise up to 70.3 million over the summer months until the current collective bargaining agreement expires in September. Thats a raise upward of 6 million from last years salary cap that potentially gives Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli 11 million of cap space to work with as Chris Kelly, Tuukka Rask, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Mike Mottau, Greg Zanon and Benoit Pouliot among others reach differing levels of free agency.
That 11 million in cap space doesnt even count the 4 million plus the Bruins could add to their spending budget should they place concussed center Marc Savard on long term injured reserve a move they managed to avoid last season.
Making things even more complicated Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin would all be free agents both unrestricted and restricted and will require some careful long term planning by the Bruins front office.
But there is a risk if Chiarelli were to work up to the 70 million cap limit. The terms of the new collective bargaining agreement are unknown with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, and the cap ceiling could conceivably change depending on the details worked by the league and players union.
As many Bruins fans will remember, the Bruins were conservative during the last work stoppage and let many of their key free agents go (Michael Nylander, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Knuble, Brian Rolston) thinking there would a veritable all-you-can eat buffet of quality free agents coming out of the lockout.
Instead, the CBA included a 24 percent salary rollback included within the agreement that made the contracts of players like Knuble and Rolston that much more palatable for the hockey clubs, and the Bruins were left scrambling to fill their roster. That CBA miscalculation led to the Bruins bottoming out in the ensuing years before Chiarelli turned the Original Six hockey franchise around.
Chiarelli has moved cautiously thus far in free agency with so much uncertainty around the corner, and it will be interesting to see how the Bruins proceed with some financial forecasts now becoming a two-month certainty.