Largely expected for the last calendar year, Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that at the Board of Governors meeting today, the league updated team owners on the revenue projections for this season, and projected next season’s salary cap to reach $87.7MM. It will be both the largest dollar value and the highest percentage raise the salary cap has seen in the last five years combined.
If the projection holds, and the salary cap indeed raises by $4.2MM for the start of next season, it will mark the highest possible percentage (5%) increase allowed under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA. If the league can sustain its current growth, it would not be unreasonable to see the league have a salary cap of more than $100MM by the end of the current decade.
As with any time the salary cap is increased by a substantial margin, it primarily benefits players in contract years and gives breathing room to a majority of the teams in the league. With players such as William Nylander, Jake Guentzel, and Brandon Montour, among others, set to hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, the first major cap increase in the last five years may put them in a position to garner record-breaking contracts.
Aside from players set to hit the free agent market this upcoming summer, players such as Leon Draisaitl, Mitch Marner, and Mikko Rantanen will be eligible for contract extensions, meaning this news bodes well for their earning power, as well. Still, although league salary standards are different for all three, the NHL has quite a ways to go in terms of revenue compared to the MLB, NFL, and NBA.
Nevertheless, it is a positive sign for the league as a whole, which saw a stagnant cap during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, and a mild $4MM increase overall in the cap since the 2018-19 season.