The general managers are off to lovely Boca Raton next week for meetings and, if time permits, some snorkeling.
Over at ESPN.com, Pierre LeBrun provides a good rundown of what should be on the agenda Monday in Florida:
—- Big surprise, there will be talk about concussions.
—- The push to make shoulder pads smaller, an oldie but a goody, is reportedly on the list.
—- Then there are the potential rule changes, like putting the red line back in (won’t happen), ditching the trapezoid (might happen), and hybrid icing (probably a good idea).
—- Oh, and Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford wants to discuss on-the-fly line changes, which he believes are treated too leniently by officials.
Perhaps the most interesting topic, however, will be the new CBA. Specifically, how it might affect free-agent spending this summer.
In late June, the league will need to introduce an updated salary cap number (both upper limit and lower limit) in order to set up the opening of free agency on July 1, as per the terms of the current CBA. Based on expanding league revenues, the $64.3-million upper limit for the cap is expected to go up yet again, perhaps as high as $69 million. The problem, of course, is that it’s a cap number that is simply temporary for the summer before the new CBA brings in new financial parameters. And if the owners and league have their way, there will be a lower salary cap for next season.
So, GMs face the bizarre scenario where they get handed a higher salary cap for July and August with the knowledge that it likely will be lower when the puck drops next season. So how much should they spend this summer? Hence, they’ll have questions for the league in the meetings next week.
If you’re wondering why the salary cap could come down, speculation has the owners asking the players to accept a lower percentage of revenues, similar to what just happened in the NFL and NBA.
The NHLPA might have something to say about that though.