BOCA RATON, Fla. – Following the league's general managers meetings, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly estimated the salary cap for next season could hit $74 million. This is slightly below the estimation at the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting in December when the cap was projected to increase $3 million. The current salary cap is at $71.4 million.
“It’s just nice to know. It’s nice to have a number so you can plan,” Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. “Whether you’re going to be a cap team or not, there are a lot of teams in there that are cap teams. Anything that’s unknown or you have to guess is no fun. With the Canadian dollar the way it is, there’s still al little projection, but I think we’re on the right track.”
Said Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, “There’s still a little bit of time to go but it gives you a little sense in terms of planning, we’re at worst case scenario flat and best case scenario a little growth.”
This number takes into account if the NHL Players’ Association exercises its five percent escalator clause, which is not a definite. Bettman also noted that the system takes the dropping Canadian dollar into account. As of Wednesday, the Canadian dollar was trading at 75 cents per one US dollar.
“It’s a factor but it’s not as dramatic as some would suggest as evidenced by the fact that we had a pretty severe decline and slight recovery of the Canadian dollar and we’re still in the same ballpark,” Bettman said. “When you’re talking about a cap that’s over $70 million dollars I’m not sure if a million dollars either way is all that material."
Daly said that without putting in the NHLPA’s inflator option into account, the salary cap could remain flat.
“Our practice with Players' Association really has been over the last couple years to try to sit down and talk about a reasonable projection for revenue growth and build in that inflator,” Daly said. “So that's what I'd say, it's somewhere probably between the current cap and $74 million.”
In between the 2014-15 season and 2015-16 season, the salary cap went up a total of $2.4 million. This small increase forced several teams, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, to jettison players during the offseason. The salary cap increased $4.7 million in between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
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