NHL and NHLPA announce payroll limits for 2010-2011

It was mentioned a couple days ago that the collective bargaining agreement was officially agreed upon to be extended until 2011-2012. The other part of that was agreeing to boost the salary limits for this season. Both the NHL and the NHLPA were happy to announce what, exactly, those limits would be for the upcoming season.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced today that the Team Payroll Range established for the 2010-11 League Year, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, provides for a Lower Limit of $43.4 million, an Adjusted Midpoint of $51.4 million and an Upper Limit of $59.4 million.

So the salary cap jumps up nearly $3 million to $59.4 and the salary floor goes up to $43.4 million. Keep in mind that the salary cap five years ago was $39 million dollars. The price of success certainly is a steep one and while the owners in the NHL can’t be upset that they’re generating so much revenue (revenue is linked to the cap after all) some of the teams not raking in the cash as heavily have to be getting a little itchy seeing their bottom lines getting worse year in and year out.

That said, teams like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston are more than happy to see the cap jump up as much as it has as it gives them a bit more flexibility and relaxes the stress on them to make overly drastic moves to reduce payroll.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.