NHL salary cap lower than projected at $81.5M

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The NHL salary cap for next season has been set at $81.5 million, which is $1.5 million lower than initially projected.

The league and the NHL Players' Association announced the figure Saturday, a day before teams can begin meeting with prospective unrestricted free agents ahead of the signing period opening July 1.

The cap rose by $2 million from last season, though teams at or near the maximum were counting additional room in order to sign or re-sign players.

The cap crunch was notable in leading to several teams shedding high-priced salaries during the second and final day of the NHL draft Saturday. The most high-profile trade involved Nashville dealing defenseman P.K. Subban to New Jersey.