The NHL Board of Governors meetings wrapped up this week and on Monday all 30 NHL General Managers were given different scenarios of what the salary cap projects to be in 2011-2012, based on the 5% inflator, value of the Canadian dollar, ect.
The salary cap is 59.4 million in 2010-2011 and one league contact told me league executives are projecting the cap to be in the $61.5 million range in 2011-2012, with a strong possibility that the cap will rise into the low $62 million range if the players accept the 5% inflator. Two agents told me this week it's no guarantee that the 5% inflator will be accepted but the consensus is that it likely will, further enhancing the cap.
When the salary cap rises, so does the salary cap floor which is not a popular scene from owners of small market teams who were driving forces during the lockout in keeping the cap under $40 million.
There's been a strong group of 7-to-8 owners for the past year who have been looking for momentum to get pressure on the NHL to reduce the structure of the cap in the next CBA, but it doesn't appear at this point that there will be enough support on that standpoint.
On the Penguins front, with a general idea of what the cap will be 2011-2012, this is the time when the Penguins brass will begin formulating a plan to attack their large group of impending free agents.
The team doesn't expect to begin negotiations or approach specific pending free agent targets about possible extensions until after the new year but two players have been targeted as priorities on the extension front before the end of the regular season.