The NHL is having its annual Board of Governor’s meeting this week and, as per tradition, we’ve been updated with a potential salary cap ceiling for next season. According to Pierre LeBrun, the NHL’s upper limit could rise from $79.5 million to $83 million for the 2019-20 season.
Of course, the actual salary cap won’t be agreed upon until June, the projection in December is generally fairly accurate. Last year, it was discussed at the BoG meetings that the cap would rise from $75 million to somewhere between $78 and $82 million and it ended up at $79.5 million.
Any increase in the cap is obviously a good thing for the Oilers. The team has found itself in a cap bind without very much wiggle room to add to the roster. As the cap continues to rise, Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million annual cap hit becomes even better value. $12.5 million would be just 15 percent of an $83 million salary cap, which is insanely good value for what McDavid brings to the table.
Another major piece of meeting at the BoG meeting is officially voting in the Seattle expansion team. It’s well known Seattle will be getting a team and this vote is simply a tap-in, but there are still questions to be answered. For example, Seattle may not have its arena ready for their goal of joining the NHL at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, so they may opt to push their start in the league back a year or two.
Another looming issue that involves Seattle is a potential lockout. Again, already? Really?! Yep! The Collective Bargaining Agreement ends on Sept. 15, 2019 and if either the NHL or the NHLPA opt out, we could have a lockout for the 2020-21 season. That would be another reason why Seattle might want to postpone the birth of their franchise.
I’ve talked about this before, but a reason I imagine we’ll have another lockout in the short-term future is the 31 owners splitting Seattle’s $650-million expansion fee. The owners will be making a boatload of cash off Seattle’s expansion immediately which would compensate for any revenue lost during a lockout while they can grind the NHLPA (specifically, issues surrounding escrow and hockey-related revenue) to a deal that favours the owners more than the current CBA.
If we do get a lockout, though, we could end up with another batch of compliance buyouts, which would help the Oilers prior to the expansion draft. I guess that’s a silver lining?