The NHL and NHLPA met on Tuesday and one of the hot topics of discussion, according to multiple reports, is concern over the salary cap ceiling for the upcoming season — and even beyond.
A lower number than originally projected could pose serious issues for teams tight against the cap and those with key restricted free agents to lock up.
Clubs like Toronto and Tampa, for instance who have to lock up Mitch Marner and Brayden Point, respectively, and are already tight against the cap, could feel the brunt more than most if this goes how many expect.
Multiple teams I’ve spoken to are very concerned about this cap forecast. Many fear that when the NHL and NHLPA settle on an upper limit this week, it will be LESS than $82M for next season, or an increase of only slightly more than $2M. https://t.co/KZiHydOZSD
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 18, 2019
It appears the salary cap for 2019-20 will be well below the initial projection of $83 million, possibly even falling under the $82-million mark — which would represent year-over-year growth of around $2 million. In December, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the salary cap was expected to rise by $3.5 million.
Last year's salary cap numbers were released on June 21, and an announcement regarding the final 2019-20 figures is expected over the coming days.
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman had some interesting thoughts in his recent column on the reasoning behind the stagnant salary cap, suggesting this theory:
“...the NHL and NHLPA, to maintain labour peace, are going to tighten the cap for two years until a new U.S. television deal is announced.”
Friedman’s sentiment is centred around three key factors including what he believes is a shift in player attitudes and less of a willingness to re-sign for “hometown discounts,” ongoing CBA negotiations, and a US TV deal that’s set to expire two seasons from now.
The Vegas Golden Knights currently have the highest projected cap hit for next season, according to CapFriendly, at $83.1 million. The Penguins, Lightning, Predators and Maple Leafs are not too far behind.
Those teams, especially, just saw their off-seasons get a little more stressful.
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports