Slap Shots has been told that the NHLPA is planning to exercise its right under the CBA to request that a full five-percent bump be built into next season's cap. If 2006-07 league revenues come it at $2.36B - Gary Bettman on Monday said he thought the number would be close to $2.4B - a five-percent bump would bring next season's upper limit to approximately $52M.So remember how I determined that the Wings could keep their entire roster together, with the exception of Lang and Calder, while still staying under the cap? Hell, now the Chief's insane battle-cry of Sign Ryan Smyth actually seems possible without making any sacrifices.
However, I will urge caution if the cap does indeed reach 52M. Since the increase is based on ticket price increases, and given all the gloom and doom about the state of the NHL these days, can we expect the cap to jump again? We may even see the cap decrease. And given the need for a Zetterberg extension and the Lidstrom re-signing, it doesn't make sense for the Wings to sign a big name FA (who will likely want more than one or two years) even if they can fit him under the cap this year. And considering the other contracts the Wings have on the horizon (Cleary, Franzen, Filppula, Grigorenko?) I think caution should rule the day.
That being said, Mat Schneider is exactly the kind of FA the Wings can sign if they want to take advantage of the extra 4M. The Wings can offer something much closer to market value, i.e., 6M, and Schneider is certain to stay if he feels he's being offered his worth. His contract is likely to be one or two years, giving the Wings flexibility for the impending UFAs of Lids and Zatta. I'll go into more detail on the Wings options for a 52M Cap in the next few days. Here's a posting sched:
Tues: Wings Offseason Analysis - Defence - Lebda and Kronwall
Wed: Wings Offseason Analysis - Defence - Free Agents
Thurs: Wings Offseason Analysis - Goaltending - Overview
I just realized I've been spelling defense Canadianly. I am some kind of retarded.