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05-24-2009, 11:16 AM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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Article from the Devils perspective but important nonetheless:

NHL general managers are preparing for a hit that could be every bit as painful as anything former Devils captain Scott Stevens delivered during his Hall of Fame career.

As they compile their wish lists for the start of free agency beginning July 1, GMs will likely be facing the first decrease in the salary cap since it was instituted for the 2005-06 season.

The cap could drop by as much as $2.5 million for the 2009-10 season from its current $56.7 million figure, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Although Daly couldn't say, it is not inconceivable that the figure could fall to $50 million for the 2010-11 season.

"At this point, we don't really have a good estimate of where the cap will be," Daly wrote in an e-mail to The Star-Ledger. "If the NHLPA wants a 5 percent inflator, and we agree, the cap should be relatively 'flat.' If there is no inflator applied, the cap will be down $2-$2.5 million."

That has GMs very worried about how much they should pay to keep their own players and what would be prudent in signing unrestricted free agents.

"It will affect everybody's philosophy and everyone's decisions," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello predicted. "Because, if you're signing any long-term contracts of two years or more, you don't know what potentially can happen and how far down the cap will or can go."

Some pessimists have suggested it could drop as low as $48 million for 2010-11.

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