Though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wouldn’t give a specific salary cap range estimate for the 2020-21 season, Pierre LeBrun took the pulse of the league’s board of governors. LeBrun shared those thoughts on TSN today:
They had their interpretation of what they heard from Gary Bettman. A number of different ranges, but one governor saying to me that the low range is $82.5MM, which is just $1MM more than the current cap of $81.5MM. That’s what his team will budget for, and if it is higher so be it, but they are going to be conservative. I had another governor tell me $83.5MM is what he thinks it is probably going to be. I think teams are going to be cautious this time around.
Given how the range of cap predictions from this time last year didn’t come true, you can see why a team might lean a little more conservative this time around. Any movement in the salary cap will be hugely welcomed however, as more than half the league has had to dip into long-term injured reserve to stay compliant at various period this season. An increase of $3MM however could be almost a game-changing amount at this point.
With restricted free agent salaries skyrocketing and an unrestricted free agent class that may include players like Taylor Hall, Braden Holtby and Alex Pietrangelo, there will be plenty hoping for some extra space. Specifically, teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights who had to sacrifice real assets to get under the cap ceiling at the start of this year would be relieved to know they have a bit more room.