At the GM meetings today, the league gave teams an early projection on the 2020-21 salary cap figures. Bill Daly explained that the cap ceiling is projected to land somewhere between $84MM and $88.2MM for next season, with the final number still to be negotiated with the NHLPA.
An increase of that size from this season’s $81.5MM would be welcomed by many teams around the league, especially given how many have used long-term injured reserve this season. Clubs like the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, for instance, who have some of the league’s top pending unrestricted free agents, may have an easier route to re-signing their homegrown stars.
The range is because of an inflator that the NHLPA can use, increasing the number between 0-5%. Even if they decide not to use any of it, getting an extra $2.5MM from every team will make free agency more interesting. This summer’s crop of UFAs isn’t quite as deep as some previous years, especially if names like Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug re-sign.
One name that will be licking his chops at the increase is Taylor Hall, who all of a sudden may become an option for some more cap-strapped clubs. The Arizona Coyotes’ winger has 50 points in 62 games this season, though that actually trails slightly behind Mike Hoffman, who is currently leading all pending free agents in scoring with 27 goals and 56 points.
We won’t know the final number for some time, but Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic also reports the NHL and NHLPA are discussing the possibility of releasing multiple years of cap numbers at the same in order to give teams a little more ability for future planning.