It was debated all season long whether the salary cap would increase at all with a flailing Canadian Dollar. Some even worried that the cap might decrease, especially if the NHLPA didn't use their inflator. However, in the end, Gary Bettman was right in that the cap did increase slightly. The new cap ceiling of $71.4-million is a small increase from last year's $69-million. The cap floor also rose from $51-million to $52.8-million.
GeneralFanager.com lists three teams within $5-million of the cap: the Philadelphia Flyers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Montreal Canadiens. Other teams like the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks may also be in trouble as they need to fill several roster spots and to sign notable RFAs. This cap crunch last year led to situations such as the Islanders prying Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy from those two teams for relatively cheap. There may be deals like those to be had once again.
The Senators are once again expected to be a budget team heading into 2015-16. However, the Sens already have nearly $60-million in cap hits committed to next season, with Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Alex Chiasson, Erik Condra, and Shane Prince among the notables still to be signed (though Prince will still be on a two-way contract). The Sens will need to shed a couple contracts to be able to fit comfortably under the salary cap. The progress of the Sens' youngsters may lead to the team becoming a cap team again much faster than anticipated.
The salary cap was set as part of the GM meetings in Las Vegas on Tuesday. A press conference is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST to reveal other decisions from the meetings, the most notable being the format of overtime for the 2015-16 season.