2016 NHL Awards - Board Of Governors Press Conference, Bill Daley, Gary Bettman
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL’s cap $4.5 million cap increase spells opportunity for all three local teams, the New York Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils.

The NHL announced its long-awaited decision on the salary cap, clocking in at $79.5 million, the median most figured it would look like.

Along with an increase in the ceiling comes an increase in the floor with $58.8 million being the new minimum a team can commit to their roster.

While, obviously, all teams benefit from an announcement like this, the NYC teams get a huge opportunity for a busy offseason.

Of all teams in the NHL, the Devils have the ninth-most cap space ($24.3 million), the Rangers have the fourth-most ($29.4 million) and yep, as of right now the Islanders have the most cap space in the league (32.7 million).

While the Islanders have been owning the offseason so far in hiring both Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, the opportunity is still ripe for the Rangers & Devils. The Devils are fresh off their first appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs in six years, and while it was nice to see them back in it, they won just a single game.

Ray Shero’s group had its moments, but at the end of the day, the Devils finished 15 overall in goals-for and goals-against. Middle of the pack will get you to the post-season and so will the help of Hart Trophy-winner Taylor Hall, but the Devils know they need to land bigger fish if they want to take the next step.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Rangers declared an all-out fire sale at the trade deadline, sending captain Ryan McDonagh & JT Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Rick Nash to Boston. Shedding off contracts like that give them plenty of room to retool, get younger, and bring in more youth to what will become a brand-new Rangers squad.

More space to maneuver with can allow Jeff Gorton to put a respectable product on the ice as things continue with the Rangers rebuild.

The Islanders, of course, can continue the onslaught of an offseason armed with Lou Lamoriello, Barry Trotz, and $32.7 million to spend. The hiring of Trotz all but put them at the front door to land John Carlson if he doesn’t re-sign with the Washington Capitals, as well as re-sign the bounty of RFA’s such as Ryan Pulock, Calvin de Haan and Brock Nelson.

Whatever direction these clubs decide, the only direction for all three is upwards. With the NHL Draft scheduled for tomorrow, the pace will only pick up from here.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.