SUN Hockey Pool

Salary cap jumps past $50M

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

When the NHL lockout ended the salary cap was $39 million. Just two seasons later it's up to $50.3 million. That's troubling news for a lot of teams, but the Oilers don't appear to be one of them.

"It changes things a little bit, but the Canadian dollar is really helping us right now," said Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe, who knew the hike, up from $44 million last year, was coming. "If it's frustrating for us, it's more so for another dozen teams. We're in a better position than a lot of teams, but it does give some of the bigger markets a little more wiggle room, no question."

Thanks to a Canadian dollar that's trading at 94 cents US (up from an all-time low of 62 cents in 2002), a team that used to struggle to keep its head above water with a payroll in the low $30-million range is now budgeted for $45 million going into the season.

A team that used to get subsidy money from the NHL is now paying into the revenue sharing pot ($2.7 million US this year towards a fund that's divided among the league's trouble spots) and getting nothing out.

"It's amazing how the worm turns," said governor Cal Nichols, pointing to increases in all aspects of the Oilers enterprise. "The dollar has a lot to do with it, as do ticket price increases and general increases in our revenue."

The minimum teams will be forced to spend is $34.3M.

TARNSTROM SIGNS

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish told 630 CHED yesterday the club has agreed to terms with D Dick Tarnstrom.


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