NHL salary cap may stay flat for next season

The NHLPA reserves the right to raise it 5 percent to $74 million.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has confirmed what many front offices have feared: the salary cap will likely stay flat at $71.4 million for the 2016-17 season. The NHLPA can use its escalator option to bump up the cap 5 percent to $74 million.

Consider this the first of many posts trying to make sense of the salary cap and what it means for the San Jose Sharks over the next year. Right now the Sharks' cap hit is $71,982,497 according to General Fanager. San Jose has $59,999,998 committed to contracts next season, but Tomas Hertl, Dylan Demelo, Matt Tennyson and Matt Nieto will both be RFAs while James Reimer, Nick Spaling and Roman Polak will all be UFAs.

That would leave under $11 million to sign Hertl, Demelo and Nieto — it's unlikely (in my opinion) that the Sharks will look to retain anyone else on that list. That's going to be a little tight when looking to fill out the rest of the roster, even if it's with depth guys.

It's still early days, but right now it's looking like the Sharks could use some help from the NHLPA. I'd say this will make things even tougher for the Kings, but I'm sure they'll find a way to cheat the cap and win five cups anyway.