(SB Nation) -- The NHL and the NHL Players' Association announced Thursday that the salary cap for the 2012 offseason will be set at $70.2 million, down from an original estimate of $70.3 million set back during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The lower limit is set at $54.2 million, a number all teams must meet in order to ice a team for the 2012-13 season.
But of course, there's a catch. The rules governing this cap are set by the current collective bargaining agreement, a deal that expires Sept. 15. A work stoppage is expected to begin the 2012-13 season if the NHL and its players cannot agree to a new deal by that date. After negotiations are completed, new terms may be put in place to govern the salary cap and the salary floor, meaning these numbers could and likely will change for the 2012-13 season.
In the meantime, these are the numbers that will govern league business until mid-September. That means free agency, which opens Sun., July 1, will operate under this team payroll range.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with this StoryStream.