Salary Cap Limit Increasing?

This tweet from Bob Mckenzie has gotten a lot of NHL fans excited:

I’m told the upper limit of the 2011-12 NHL salary cap will be $64 million. The lower limit, or floor, will be $48 million. – TSNBobMckenzie

$64 million would be an approximately $4 million increase on what the salary cap was last year and it will mean that teams who appeared to be bounded by the salary cap will have some more space to play with. The Nashville Predators have some more room to sign Shea Weber, the Devils can possibly lock-up Zach Parise long-term and Brad Richards is probably squealing with joy because he is going to get paid big time in a couple weeks. How does this concern the Caps? Well, after the one-year extensions given to Mike Knuble and Alex Semin, Washington had approximately only $8 million in space to work with and a few important pending free agents to sign including Karl Alzner, Semyon Varlamov and Brooks Laich. The cap increasing to $64 million means that Washington will have something like $12-12.5 million to work with in space instead of $8.5 mil. That’s very good news, especially if the team wants to keep Brooks Laich and Semyon Varlamov around. They will probably have to get Laich signed before July 1st, though as he’s an unrestricted free agent.

Now, many are wondering if the Caps will make a big splash in free agency come July 1st, but the wise thing for them to do might be nothing because the list of pending free agents for our position’s of need aren’t exactly making me crazy. The smart thing to do may just be to re-sign Jason Arnott to a cheap, one-year contract at this point. There are some good defensive forwards available, though and if Boyd Gordon leaves, there are a few good defensive forwards available who we should consider. A good idea would be to look at the potential roster for next year first.

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
??? – ??? – Semin
Chimera – Johansson – Fehr
Hendricks – Beagle – King

Alzner (RFA)-Carlson
Green-Wideman
Schultz-Poti
Erskine

Neuvirth
Varlamov(RFA)

UFA: Arnott, Laich, Bradley, B. Gordon, Hannan

I’m expecting Alzner and Varlamov’s contracts to take up about $4-5 mil total when all is said and done. There may be a good chance that Arnott gets re-signed because I’m not sure if Johansson is ready to center the second line and having someone who did well here last season would be nice and as I mentioned earlier, he appears to be a better option than others in free agency. If Laich leaves, we are going to need to sign someone to replace him. He contributes a lot on and off the scoresheet so getting a winger for the second line will be pretty important. I also think that our third and fourth lines could be a lot better than they look above. Fehr is likely going to start the season on the IR and I don’t want us to have to dress DJ King every game. Re-signing Boyd Gordon or even a fourth-liner like Scott Nichol or Todd Marchant via free agency is not a bad idea. If we re-sign Hannan then either Poti or Sloan is gone. Too many defensemen on the roster already. I’m not sure who would take on Poti’s contract but I will praise McPhee forever if he can work out a deal.

Expect the Caps to make some moves because while there are options within the organization, this roster can be improved from how it potentially looks right now.

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