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The Malik Report

Brooks: NHLPA likely to approve 5% inflator, bump salary cap up to $62.2 million

According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, as the 2011-2012 season will be the last under the current CBA, negating the “bonus cushion” that allowed, for example, the Wings to sign Mike Modano and Ruslan Salei and defer their combined over-35 signing bonuses of $850,000 to the following year’s cap figure, it’s likely that the NHLPA’s membership will swallow hard and vote to bump up the cap by 5% and continue to deal with the escrow withholdings that serve as a de-facto give-back to the league in the process:

The NHLPA has told agents that the union projects a salary cap of approximately $62.2 million next season if the players vote to trigger the 5-percent escalator, Slap Shots has learned. That represents an increase of $2.8 million from the current $59.4 million cap, or approximately 4.7 percent. This means that, 1) the NHL’s “record” revenues have not increased by the 5 percent the players voted to bump the cap for this season; and, 2) the cap would remain flat or even decrease slightly for the first time if the players opt not to adopt the inflator for next season.

This is a preliminary number recently given to the agents in the union’s “marketplace” assessment that could change slightly depending upon the revenue generated in the playoffs. Just as an example, there would be significantly less revenue generated by the Hurricanes than by the Rangers, assuming an equal number of postseason home games.

There is no guarantee that the union will vote to adopt the 5-percent inflator, given that doing so leads to increased escrow as a tradeoff for additional dollars in the system that benefits free agents and high payroll, powerful teams seeking to keep their rosters intact. But as 2011-12 represents the final year of the CBA, the 7.5-percent bonus cushion that allows clubs to defer up to that amount in performance bonuses on entry level and over-35 contracts will disappear. According to several sources, that will be an important consideration that is expected to prompt to players to vote for the escalator.

A $62.2 million cap would mean a floor of $46.2 million. The Flyers, by the way, are just about at next year’s cap already, and thus are preparing to find additional defensemen to place on LTI while the Islanders are preparing to buy out more players in order to reach the floor.

The scary part? He’s not kidding about the Flyers and Islanders’ likely roster moves.

Continued with talk about the Torres suspension and a beef about Jacques Lemaire being Jacques Lemaire.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.