HE still has more than three months before the potential first game of the 2012-13 NHL season but Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has some money to spend.
As of today, he must spend it.
The NHL announced Thursday that the salary range for the coming season will be an upper limit of US$70.2 million and a lower limit of $54.2 million, leaving the Jets nearly $11 million below the floor.
Of course, two moving targets are in play, making this hardly a black-and-white situation for Cheveldayoff and one of the most complicated off-seasons ever.
The hard cap of $70.2 million in per-team salaries will go out with the collective bargaining agreement that expires on Sept. 15. Negotiations for a new deal begin today in New York.
It's widely expected that the league will seek to reduce the players' share of revenues (currently 57 per cent) and any reduction in that sharing will bring the cap and floor lower in concert.
And there has been some support among struggling markets to reduce the salary floor in order to better help make ends meet.
The players, likely resistant to those ideas, believe the league should enhance its own revenue-sharing formula to help weaker teams.
On the other side of labour talks, it's not known how, if at all, old contracts might be grandfathered into any new deal if there is any substantial change to salary limits.
In the interim, the league had to have its customary parameters in place so that teams can do business, and Cheveldayoff, with just 16 roster players signed including Patrice Cormier, still has six or likely seven players to add.
The website capgeek.com indicated Thursday that the Jets had $42.3 million worth of cap hits ready for the fall, leaving almost $11 million for six or seven players that could or should include restricted free agent winger Evander Kane, a back-up goalie that's likely to be either Chris Mason or Jonas Gustavsson, at least three other forwards and one or two more defenceman.
The Jets are believed to be still talking to unrestricted free agent Tanner Glass and are believed to have some interest in the returns of two other UFA's, forward Kyle Wellwood and defenceman Mark Flood.