The National Hockey League and the players' association finally got around to making the 2011-12 salary cap official - and the news is even than the NHL's big spenders could hope for.
Because of a big spike in revenue over the past 12 months, NHL teams saw almost a $5-million bump in the year-over-year salary cap, from $59.4-million to $64.3-million. That should turn free agency into a wild affair this year, at both the top and bottom end of the payroll scale. The adjusted midpoint is $56.3-million, which has revenue-sharing implications, but the most important number is the salary floor, set at a whopping $48.3-million - which is the number every team will need to spend this year at a bare minimum.
A number of teams, such as the Florida Panthers, will have money to burn in order to get to that level. In 2006, when the NHL ended the lockout, the salary cap was $39.5-million and the floor set at $21.5-million.