Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/16/14 at 10:11 AM ET
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
NHL teams have been told to expect the upper limit of the salary cap to be set around $70 million for next season — the final accounting is still being completed — and maintaining as much payroll flexibility as possible under that threshold is imperative.
Any money removed by buyouts or expiring contracts will soon be replaced by new deals, with negotiations in full swing on a number of fronts. While July 1 remains the date that unrestricted free agents can sign with other teams, players in that situation are allowed to start interviewing with potential suitors on June 25.
This is a new wrinkle in the CBA that saw a two-day trial run at the end of last year’s lockout-shortened season, with David Clarkson among the few who visited multiple cities across the continent to field pitches. That won’t be necessary this time around since the interview period opens before the June 27-28 draft, which leaves UFA’s the chance to meet teams in Philadelphia, although some may still choose to go directly to the places where they might potentially end up playing.
It is a relatively weak free-agent class — headlined by Marian Gaborik, Paul Stastny and Thomas Vanek — so most teams looking for upgrades will have to explore other avenues as well.
In speaking with general managers after their meeting in New York last week, the general opinion seemed to be that a busy trading period around the draft awaits. There are certainly big names (and big contracts) available. However, as a word of caution, we have heard this type of talk before and then had the realities of the salary cap limit movement.
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