The National Hockey League and its Players' Association released a joint announcement Sunday confirming the salary cap for the 2017-18 NHL season will be $75 million.
The NHLPA confirmed the news on its official website. The lower limit, which is the minimum amount each team must spend on players, is $55.4 million. The upper-limit figure is a $2 million increase over the $73 million cap for the 2016-17 campaign.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman predicted the small uptick in December, per Kevin Allen of USA Today. The league's longtime chief executive confirmed the struggling value of the Canadian dollar played a key role in deciding to raise the cap such a small amount with eight teams from north of the border.
"It's something we're going to have to look at very carefully in terms of how maybe to best approach it," Bettman said.
The lack of a more substantial increase is going to put a serious pinch on teams that entered the offseason with questions about financial resources.
Cap Friendly listed five teams with less than $5 million in cap room before the announcement: the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. The Hawks, Jackets and Islanders will remain below that threshold, even with the extra $2 million in wiggle room.
Chicago is actually a projected $2.5 million over the new $75 million salary cap.
Teams do have an additional option when it comes to creating space this offseason, though. The Vegas Golden Knights are set to submit their selections for the expansion draft Wednesday and have shown a willingness to listen to proposals.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported the Blue Jackets are giving up the No. 24 draft pick for extra player protection. TSN's Darren Dreger noted the Islanders are doing the same thing by sending the No. 15 pick to Vegas.
Giving up a draft pick so the Golden Knights will take an overpaid player will surely be part of some teams' conversations over the next three days.
Otherwise, front offices will need the more traditional route of trades and buyouts to create the space they need to have at least 20 active contracts worth under $75 million by opening night.