The salary cap for next year will be $75,000,000.

The NHLPA voted today to apply an inflator to raise the cap to that amount.  The official release of the numbers has not yet been made, but we know the ceiling and the floor.

Escrow, cap inflators, and HRR; what does that all mean?

The expected escrow percentage will be a touch lower than the current one, and sometime next off-season the players will know if this gamble on the inflation of the cap paid off for everyone, and they all get most or all of their escrow deductions back, or if it just helped the free agents signing contracts on July 1.

This is a $2,000,000 increase over the current cap, so for teams looking to spend to the limit, they know exactly how much room they have to sign their RFAs, get a defenceman and a couple of centres and find a really good backup goalie (to take a shopping list totally at random).

The floor of $55.4 million is only a $1.4 million over the current year’s amount.  That number is mostly of interest to Vegas and a very few other teams who need to be sure they can meet that number at all times and still be able to trade away a player if the need arises.

Most teams still have room to manoeuvre, to sign their RFAs, find some UFAs or make trades. And since every team is about to lose one player to Vegas, that helps in the numbers game as well for most teams.

The Leafs currently have just under $61 million in cap hit for the coming season, but they also have many unsigned players.  With just over $14 million in cap space, the ability to do more than just sign the RFAs and a backup goalie is assured.

Just because they can spend, doesn’t mean they should.  However, it’s worth remembering that unused cap space covers your bonuses, but it doesn’t score any goals.