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NHLPA votes to extend CBA; salary cap to go up next season

After the NHLPA decided not to come to a decision yesterday on whether to exervise it’s option on whether to extend the CBA, there was some concern that they would vote against the increase in the salary cap and further splinter the players. Instead, word has come down today that the CBA has been extended through the 2011-2012 season and that the NHLPA has voted to approve the 5% growth factor on the salary cap.

So what does this all mean?

For one, the salary cap is now expected to jump up to around $58.8 million, up from $56.6 million last season. Next year’s cap -- and that growth factor -- is based on last season’s revenues; until the formal announcement comes we won’t know exactly where the cap will sit next season, but it will be in that ballpark.

Teams now have more flexibility for free agency and the players will see an increase in average salaries for next season. This affords to higher spending teams more room to sign big free agents, while other teams that need to stay conservative are left playing catchup.

This is also a good sign for the NHLPA and it’s pursuit of Doald Fehr to become the director of the association. It had been thought that if the players showed good judgment and solidarity he’d be willing to take to position, and it certainly seems as if that’s the case here.

Full press release after the jump.

TORONTO/CHICAGO (June 22, 2010) - The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today from its meetings in Chicago, Illinois that the NHLPA has exercised its option to extend the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the 2011-12 season.

The current CBA between the NHLPA and the National Hockey League (NHL) was scheduled to expire on September 15, 2011, will now remain in effect through the 2011-12 season.

Statement from NHLPA Executive Board:

“The NHLPA is pleased to announce to hockey fans that the CBA will remain in effect through the 2011-12 season. It is apparent through the operation of the CBA that there are a number of issues that require serious examination. The NHLPA is currently reviewing these issues and will be forming a negotiating committee in the coming months in order to address these matters.”

The Executive Board’s decision will also ensure that NHL Clubs have the ability to use the Performance Bonus Cushion provision in the CBA for contracts in the 2010-11 season.