GMs want to know: Will the salary cap be lower next season?


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.

Writes LeBrun:

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.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.