Salary cap set at $79.5 million for 2018-19 NHL season

DALLAS — General managers looking to make moves at the NHL draft found out the salary cap for next season will be $79.5 million, an increase of $4.5 million from last year.

The NHL and NHLPA announced the cap and $58.8 million salary floor Thursday. With the first round of the draft Friday night, teams are preparing for a bevy of player movement entirely apart from the selections themselves.

Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli says there’s “a lot of chatter” going on right now. Much of that chatter involves some big names: Ottawa captain and No. 1 defenceman Erik Karlsson, Montreal winger Max Pacioretty, Buffalo centre Ryan O’Reilly and Pittsburgh winger Phil Kessel are among the top players being bandied about in trade talk.

Florida GM Dale Tallon says the conversations are becoming more specific as teams lock in on specific needs all over their lineup. Chiarelli and Tallon each seem willing to trade his team’s first-round pick to either move back or pick up some immediate help, and the Panthers already got 20-goal scorer Mike Hoffman from the Senators earlier this week.

A year ago, the cap only went up $2 million. The bigger increase this year should spur more trades and give teams more room to keep players.

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