Here’s some potentially good news for teams that are in a tight spot financially.
The NHL’s salary cap could rise by around $4 million for the 2023-24 season if the league’s revenues hit a certain target and the pandemic-related deficit is fully paid back by players.
Commissioner Gary Bettman told owners at a four-hour Board of Governors meeting in New York that the league is optimistic that the debt should be paid off by the end of the season, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
“We believe that there’s a good probability that the escrow will be paid off this season,” Bettman said. “It may not (happen), but it’s going to be close, we think, which means the flat cap will be replaced by an increase, if not this season then next season. Revenues are pretty vibrant.”
Back in late September, Elliotte Friedman reported that teams were told that the salary cap would rise sharply in a few years but that the projection for 2023-24 was only a slight rise by $1 million to a ceiling of $83.5 million. A jump of $4 million would give teams who are in a difficult salary cap bind, such as the Edmonton Oilers, a nice increase in wiggle room.
The Oilers currently have about $72.5 million committed to their roster for the 2023-24 season, and that’s without contracts signed for restricted free agents Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Stuart Skinner.
The cap jumping up to $86.5 million would mean fewer difficult maneuvers would be needed in order to get all of the RFAs signed.