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NHL, players agree on a temporary cap ceiling of $70.2 million

Los Angeles Kings v New Jersey Devils - Game Five

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 09: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils reacts after scoring a goal in the first period against Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings during Game Five of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 9, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at an awkward time. While other leagues were forced to hash out a new CBA before free agency began, the NHL’s July 1 frenzy begins far before the Sept. 15 expiration date. This could all be very messy depending upon the ceiling dictated by the next CBA, but for now, Kevin McGran reports that the league and players agreed upon a $70.2 million ceiling.

In the short term, that’s delightful news for the “rich” teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks but confusing info for franchises who struggle to even reach the salary cap floor. Does that mean that those teams will need to spend $55.2 million or so just in case, or will they bank on a new CBA to save the day?

The poor team side is a bummer and there could be some perplexing issues if the ceiling drops,* but let’s focus on the positive. In the short-term, bigger budget GMs can go all-out for Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and the scant amount of other high-end free agents.

Think of it as a wild outdoor musical festival of hockey spending (and try not to think about the tears that might come from cleaning it all up).

* - At least the NHL is unlikely to rain bizarre fire and brimstone down on big-spending teams like the NFL did with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Hopefully.