Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Salary Cap Expected to Rise to between $78M and $82M Next Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Salary Cap Expected to Rise to between $78M and $82M Next Season

Article excerpt

NHL salary cap expected to rise at least $3M

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MANALAPAN, Fla. - One day after the NHL took a big step towards an expansion franchise in Seattle, commissioner Gary Bettman said the league's existing 31 teams will be allowed to spend more next season.

A lot more, in fact.

Bettman told reporters at the conclusion of the league's board of governors meeting Friday that the projected salary cap for 2018-19 will be somewhere between US$78 million and $82 million, up from the current $75 million.

"The league has never been healthier," Bettman said in a ballroom at the swanky Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. "The game has never been healthier. Our franchises have never been healthier. Our fan base has never been better."

Bettman said hockey-related revenue will be around US$4.54 billion this season, an 8.2 per cent increase.

The cap bump should help a number of teams close to the ceiling like the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks heading into next season, and others like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have to lock up young stars Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner in the not-too-distant future.

Leafs president Brendan Shanahan didn't stop to speak with reporters after the meeting broke Friday, but Edmonton Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson, whose club recently signed star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to long-term deals, said the cap increase was welcome news.

"Where we are with the cap going forward ... it's certainly going to help us, and really continue along with the plan that (general manager Peter Chiarelli) has for our team," said Nicholson.

The players and the league have to agree on on a "growth factor," which would see the cap at $78 million if it stands at zero per cent, and $82 million if it reaches five per cent.

The growth factor for this season was set at 1.6 per cent.

A percentage of player salaries is withheld in escrow to ensure a 50/50 split of hockey revenue with owners, according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

"My preference is to keep the cap as low as possible because then the escrow is low," said Bettman. "We're projecting from our standpoint that the final escrow, when it's settled out and we disperse it, will be a single-digit escrow from player salaries for last season. …

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