NHL salary cap trending upward
AFTER A YEAR of record revenues, the NHL salary cap is going up again.
The exact figure for the 2014-15 season hasn't been set yet, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday following a meeting of the league's board of governors in New York, but he hoped it would be worked out with the players' association in time for the start of the 2-day entry draft tonight in Philadelphia.
The final number is expected to be in the high $60 millions or low $70 millions. That gives general managers a guideline as they head into the draft and the free-agent shopping season that begins Tuesday.
"We hope to have a mutual understanding as to what the cap will be within the next day, hopefully at the latest," Bettman said. "It's something that obviously we do in conjunction with the players association.
"There have been ongoing meetings, but our goal would be to move this as quickly as possible.''
Teams that have large amounts of cap space can already make their offseason plans, whether it be trades or free-agent signings, without knowing the final cap number.
"I expect to see a lot more trades than we normally see," Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We'll see a lot more trades, in my opinion, that don't even involve draft picks. Hockey trades. There's so much parity in the league, everyone is trying to get ahead. I think some teams look at free agency as not an ideal route. I think there will be a lot of movement."
Last season's salary cap sat at $64.3 million, quite a jump from the original cap number of $39 million, established after the lockout-canceled season of 2004-05. The only time the cap number dropped from the previous season was in 2012-13 following another lockout when the figure was set at $60 million after being $64.3 in 2011-12.
Bettman said number-crunching was still being done to determine what the league's revenues were last season, but he declared they were at an all-time high.
Also discussed yesterday were a host of potential rules changes that have already passed through the league's competition committee and the general managers, who met earlier this month in New York during the Stanley Cup finals.
The biggest possible changes revolve around the 5-minute overtime period in the regular season. The league would like to create more overtime goals and have fewer shootouts. The proposal includes doing a scrape of the ice before overtime instead of before the shootout to give a cleaner surface to play on, and having teams change direction after the third period to create a longer change to the benches.
Also subject to change are penalties for faceoff infractions after icings, which could result in a delay-of-game penalty, the configuration of faceoff circles, increasing the size of the trapezoid behind the net, and tougher penalties for embellishment.
* The Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews reportedly are starting negotiations for contract extensions at $12 million per year, TSN reported. Kane and Toews are eligible to sign extensions on Tuesday for the 2015-16 season. The pair is entering the last season of matching 5-year, $31.5 million deals.