DALLAS – The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have agreed on a salary-cap system – the biggest hurdle to playing next season – according to a story on Toronto’s theglobeandmail.com Wednesday. But the report said the two sides still have plenty of work and topics to agree on before a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

The newspaper’s Web site reported that league and player sources said the sides agreed to a salary-cap formula based on team-by-team revenue.

The deal is believed to be for six years and would include, at least for the first year, a projected salary cap range from $34 million to $36 million with a floor of $22 million to $24 million.

“We’re hopeful that a resolution will be coming in the near future,” said Stars president Jim Lites. “Our fans deserve to know when and under what circumstances we’re playing.”

The report said the formula also includes a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax starting at the midway point of the floor and the cap.

This allows the wealthier teams to spend more, but would guarantee that gaps like the Stars spending $60 million and Pittsburgh spending $18 million won’t occur.

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said no agreements have been reached, but added that negotiations this week in New York are covering a range of topics.

Besides the cap, the two sides are likely discussing salary arbitration, free agency and the draft.

Stars captain Mike Modano heard about the report and hopes that it’s a sign that the process may be inching toward a resolution.

“You have to think positively that they can get something done and figure out a game plan that both sides can live with so we can play again,” said Modano, who said he hadn’t heard anything from union leadership. Lites said that if a deal is completed, the Stars are planning on hiring between 80 to 100 employees to handle game operations, ticket sales, marketing and promotions.

The 2004-05 season was canceled because the two sides did not sign a new CBA. The last NHL game was played more than a year ago, when Tampa Bay defeated Calgary to win the Stanley Cup.

The two sides have met more than 20 times since the season was canceled on Feb. 16.

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