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NHL Notebook: Gary Bettman willing to negotiate larger salary cap increase, QMJHL plans to ban fighting, and more
By Cam Lewis11 months ago
Tired of watching teams try to tightrope a stagnant salary cap ceiling? Here’s some good news.
Marty Walsh is set to officially take over for Donald Fehr as the head of the NHL Players’ Association on Monday and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has signalled that the league is ready to negotiate a salary cap increase for next season.
The belief is Bettman has his eye on something in particular. League sources say Bettman would consider raising the salary cap beyond the $1 million mandated by the CBA if there is also a resolution to existing and unresolved Hockey Related Revenue claims by the NHLPA that remain open from the last several seasons. Claims are relatively common in the auditing process to ensure an exact 50-50 split is divided as the CBA calls for it to be; league sources were unclear on exactly how much is in dispute or the validity of the claims.But to boil it down for simplicity, the gist of the conversation from Bettman to Walsh might go something like this: If the NHLPA is willing to remove those claims, we can talk about a salary cap increase. It’s impossible to know Walsh’s stance, not even on the job yet.
The NHL’s salary cap has only risen slightly from the $81.5 million figure set ahead of the 2019-20 season as the Players’ Association slowly pays off its debt to the owners for the revenue lost during the seasons that were shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The expectation is that the ceiling will rise from its current $82.5 million figure to $83.5 million for the 2023-24 season.
An increased cap ceiling would certainly make general manager Ken Holland’s life easier this summer. The Oilers currently have about $75 million committed to their roster for next season which would leave Holland with roughly $8.5 million in open room. Set to become restricted free agents are Evan Bouchard, Klim Kostin, and Ryan McLeod, while Derek Ryan, Mattias Janmark, Devin Shore, and Nick Bjugstad are eligible to hit the open market.
This will be an interesting topic to follow over the coming weeks and months. The Seattle Kraken expansion and the league’s broadcasting deal with ESPN have helped generate significant revenue over the past couple of years and some owners want the salary cap to go up so that their front offices can have more room to work.
QMJHL to ban fighting…
Tony Ferarri, a prospects writer with The Hockey News, pointed out on Twitter on Wednesday that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is planning to put a rule in place that would ban fighting…
“The QMJHL is planning to have a rule in place that will ban fighting, making it black and white that it is no longer a part of our game,” the spokesperson said on behalf of the league. “The punishments have not been decided as of yet. We will be looking to have a rule in place in June when the next general annual assembly of the members of the board of governors takes place.”
Ferarri further notes in the story that this is a move that’s been pushed in the past by Enrico Ciccone, a former NHL enforcer who’s now a member of Quebec’s Legislative Assembly, who has stated that he doesn’t want this generation of players to go through the trauma that he and his teammates did. Quebec’s provincial government funded the QMJHL $20 million in pandemic-related relief funding but, in return, the league would have to work to “curb fighting.”
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