No one knows the cap number for next season, and it won't be computed for approximately another three weeks, simply because '09 playoff revenue (factoring about $2 million per game) is a critical part of the brew. The last Stanley Cup game is slated to be played no later than June 16, which will keep next year's cap number out of GMs' hands until the third or fourth week of June.
If the cap comes in as expected, around $55 million, only a slight cut from this season's $56.7 million, Chiarelli will have some $10 million to sign his four restricted free agents: Kessel, Krejci, Bitz, and Hunwick. But keep in mind - and this could be critical over the next four months - GMs are allowed to run their budgets 10 percent over the cap number until opening night of the season.
Chiarelli has some operating to do - The Boston Globe