If there appears to be a collective cringing on the draft floor Friday at Wells Fargo Center, that is likely because of the recently announced salary cap of $69 million for the 2014-15 season.
That figure, reached by the league and the NHL Players' Association, was made official just hours before the 2014 NHL draft as trade talk and the free agent frenzy was heating up. The cap floor will be $51 million and the adjusted midpoint will be $60 million.
The upper limit is a number lower than many projected earlier this season, and could have several organizations straining to get their clubs comfortably under the cap. As of right now, both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers would be over the cap, according to Capgeek.com.
The much-anticipated announcement could spark even more activity among league executives, with some teams desperate to move contracts off the books and others looking to take advantage and add players, filling holes on their respective rosters.
Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters that he met with Jarome Iginla on Thursday night and would like to re-sign the veteran forward, but admitted the deal likely would be impacted by the team's cap situation and the number that was ultimately decided upon Friday.
With Iginla seeking a multiyear deal and the Bruins' limited cap space, other teams now have a prime opportunity to swoop in and court the 36-year-old winger during the newly configured negotiating period. As per the new collective bargaining agreement, teams can now speak to impending unrestricted free agents in the week leading up to July 1.
Elsewhere around the league, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they bought out the remaining three years on center Mike Ribeiro's four-year $22 million deal, while Vancouver cleared significant cap space in a deal that sent sought-after center Ryan Kesler to Anaheim in exchange for two players and a pick. The Canucks also sent Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2014.