(SB Nation) - While the NHL and its players' union begin talks on a new collective bargaining agreement, the league has told its teams that the salary cap will be temporarily set at $70.3 million for the 2012 offseason, according to a report in the Globe & Mail.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, and there could be a work stoppage to begin the 2012-13 season should the NHL and the NHLPA fail to come to an agreement on a new deal by that date.
How the league calculates its salary cap and salary floor could change in the next CBA, but a cap needs to be in place for next season to govern offseason spending.
That's where we get this $70.3 million limit, based on the $3.3 billion in revenue collected by the league in 2011-12 as outlined by the current CBA. That number was released by Gary Bettman at his press conference on Tuesday and could change slightly based on the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Teams are allowed to spend up to 10 percent more than the cap during the offseason as long as they're back under the cap for the start of the regular season, so in theory, some teams could reach $77.33 million in salary payroll this offseason before making roster decisions to get that number back down to the cap.
Additionally, the new CBA could bring a number higher or lower than the $70.3 million figure as directed by the negotiation of a new deal.
The salary cap has risen dramatically since it was first implemented after the 2004-05 lockout. The original cap was set at $39 million for the 2005-06 season.