The NHL’s Board of Governors Meeting began today in Sea Island, Georgia, as the league’s owners and executives sat down today for the first of two days of discussions. Commissioner Gary Bettman then spoke with the media this evening, apprising the press of certain topics of discussions. The biggest announcement made by Bettman related to the projected salary cap for next season. As relayed by NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, Bettman expects the 2019-20 salary cap to raise to $83MM, a significant jump of $3.5MM for this season’s ceiling of $79.5MM. Rosen notes that this value could change, but that the league has been consistently accurate in their predictions in the past. Such an increase would serve to accommodate the growing salaries of younger players, as emphasized by the recent William Nylander negotiations. With several high-profile players on high payroll teams becoming restricted free agents this summer, this added cushion should help those squads to stay together in a more comfortable manner.
- TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is not in attendance at the meetings, which is perhaps why Bettman took the opportunity to speak about his unhappiness with the situation in Ottawa. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman relayed that Bettman is “disappointed” in how the progress on a new arena in Ottawa has been going, although he did not point any fingers and stated that he understands it is a complex process. Nevertheless, with Melnyk’s seemingly poor management of the team, as well as his poor placement in the public eye, and now an admission from the commissioner that he is frustrated with the situation, perhaps the idea that the Senators owner will be forced to sell is not as outlandish as it once seemed.
- The meeting today did not involve any discussion on the expansion bid of the potential Seattle ownership group, although Rosen reports that David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer were in attendance. Instead, any discussion has been tabled until tomorrow, when the owners will vote on Seattle’s entry into the league. A two-thirds vote in favor of expansion is needed to make Seattle official and there is a strong expectation of such a result. However, the vote also more or less is a vote of realignment, as Seattle will almost certainly be added to the Pacific Division, whereas the Central Division is currently short a team. One organization who could be moved, but has no desire to do so, is the Edmonton Oilers. The team does not want to move to the Central, meaning the Oilers’ and Calgary Flames’ owners could be two potential votes against on Tuesday. If those two teams don’t move, it’s likely the Arizona Coyotes being shifted to the Central and they can’t be too happy about the possible move either.
- The one piece of Seattle news that did come out today, albeit still not official, is that the team is likely to begin play in 2021. TSN’s Darren Dreger states that no one would go on the record, but that all signs point to the team’s inaugural season being 2021-22. While this is a year later than most expected when the current round of expansion officially began, the delays in making the move official combined with concerns over collective bargaining have hinted at a 2021 start for some time.