The salary cap is going up after all in the National Hockey League.
The NHL and NHLPA announced an upper limit of $75 million US for the 2017-18 season — up from $73 million last season.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly thought the cap might remain flat — or slightly up — when he last addressed the issue at the Stanley Cup final. Daly said the league was open to limiting any potential increase in the cap to manage escrow concerns of the players.
Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning thought the establishment of the cap would help clubs prepare to make moves ahead of Wednesday's expansion draft. Protection lists were submitted to the NHL and NHLPA on Saturday and released to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday morning.
"I think the managers are kind of interested to see where the cap's going to be for next year so we can start planning our teams and what next year looks like," Benning said Friday.
Benning added that once the cap was set and protection lists were revealed "conversations with Las Vegas are really going to heat up."
Rosters are frozen for trade until Thursday morning — unless the trade is with the Knights. Vegas has expressed a willingness to deal with clubs that want to keep those players that couldn't be protected.
Teams could only safeguard seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and a goalie. First and second-year pros were exempt.
"I'm really pleased with what's available," Knights general manager George McPhee said. "This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights, and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice."
The lower limit for the salary cap will be $55.4 million.