How cap uncertainty affects free agency

GMs of big-market teams, like Dean Lombardi and Glen Sather, are quite mindful of the cap. Getty Images

When Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi sat down to get contract extensions done for depth players like Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan earlier this season, he didn’t have the latest projections from the league on what the salary cap might look like for next season.

During the December board of governors meeting, the league provided its teams with a salary-cap projection of about $73 million for the 2015-16 season, but the plunging Canadian dollar wiped out that optimistic guess.

The Kings did their best to come up with internal projections.

“The number we had on our templates, we had to do it with two or three schematics. We didn’t know what it was going to be,” Lombardi said when we sat down for a chat last week. “What it affects mostly is your ability to do term.”

Lombardi’s work isn’t done.