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NHL Salary Cap Increases To $64.3 Million

The Detroit Red Wings were very close to the salary cap going into last season. This year, however, that will not be the case unless they go on quite the spending spree. Not only are a number of contracts coming off the books, including Brian Rafalski's deal that was worth $6 million, but the NHL salary cap is seeing a big increase for next season.

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Teams will have $64.3 million to spend next season, an increase from $59.4 million, the league and the NHL Players' Association said Thursday. All 30 clubs must spend a minimum of $48.3 million on payroll, $9.3 million above the original upper cap limit of $39 million set six years ago following the season-long lockout.

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The cap is going up so much because revenue for the NHL once again increased. As it says in the quote, the salary cap floor for next season will actually be $9.3 million above what the salary cap was in the first season after the lockout. That is a pretty big increase in a relatively small span of time.

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The Red Wings aren't expected to go too crazy in the free agent market, but they could throw some money around if they wanted. We know Detroit will be spending money on one or two defensemen and a backup goaltender, and perhaps they will sign Jaromir Jagr as well. Anything beyond that would be a surprise at this point, but with their payroll being only a little more than $48 million right now, the Red Wings at least have the option to make a big signing.