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Salary cap rises to $64 million for 2011-12, floor to $48 million

Brad Richards (91) of the Dallas Stars competes

Brad Richards (91) of the Dallas Stars competes during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition. (Jan. 29, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

And that is good news for the Rangers, who will have to carry Chris Drury's $7.05-million cap hit and Wade Redden's $6.5-million cap hit until the start of the season.

To get the credit for Drury's cap hit if and when he's placed on the long-term injury list, the Rangers have to spend the extra $7-million above the cap. Plus they can go 10 percent above the cap until the season begins, so they really could have up to $77-million of space to play with through training camp.

That means there's more to offer Brad Richards, if it makes sense. There's less reason to go to the mat with RFAs Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle and Michael Sauer in negotiations.

The Islanders may not view this as good news, if they're looking to be frugal this summer, but it's not a huge impact on them. They are currently at $36.7-million committed for 2011-12, and Nino Niederreiter's $2.795-million should be added to that when he makes the team, along with whatever contract Josh Bailey agrees to.

There are some teams who will have to work hard to make the $48-million floor, most notably the Panthers, who only have $18.3-million committed for next season. Someone's going to get a ridiculous offer from them just to make the floor.

That will surely be exhibit A when Gary Bettman and Don Fehr sit down for CBA talks sometime this coming winter. The salary-cap ceiling back in 2005-06, the first year post-lockout, was $39-million.

Of course, this is a CBA that was a slam-dunk victory for the owners, for "cost certainty" and for the league's full and complete domination of its players. Just remember what was said and written after the 04-05 season was lost.

New York Sports