It's the second increase under the collective bargaining agreement that ended the yearlong lockout in 2005.
The key issue in the lockout that forced the cancellation of the 2004-05 season was the owners' insistence to include a salary cap and the players association's unwillingness to accept it. The union finally gave in, and has had a financial windfall.
Teams don't have to spend up to the ceiling, but each club's payroll must be at least $34.3 million. The range from top to bottom is always $16 million.
The first season following the lost year featured a cap of $39 million, and that figure rose to $44 million for the 2006-07 season.