With the conclusion of this year’s NHL GM Meetings, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly gathered for media availability earlier today to discuss the meetings, including their thoughts on certain hot topics, potential changes to rules, and the overall state of the game.
One change reported earlier was that the salary cap is expected to increase by $1MM next year to $82.5MM. Although the salary cap is expected to remain flat through 2024-25, Bettman clarified that a $1MM increase on the cap is still in-line with a flat cap. Albeit a small change, the extra space could stand to benefit some teams who are already dangerously close to the cap ceiling and project to be in the same position next year. Bettman did add that after 2024-25, he expects that the cap would increase more substantially.
- On the much-discussed LTIR situation in the NHL, Bettman and Daly did not express much concern, a relay of the feelings of the 32 teams. Bettman did acknowledge the situation, but said that it was “not going to be addressed as a front-burner issue anytime soon.” In regards to teams who have players return right at the start of playoffs, a seemingly convenient occurrence, Daly clarified the NHL’s process of handling these issues, noting that the league, when a player is placed into LTIR, requests the projected date of return, and if that date is around the start of the playoffs, they do look deeper into it and may even use an independent medical expert to verify the proposed timetable.
- Touching on no-trade and no-movement clauses in light of the Evgenii Dadonov non-trade, Daly said that the league has already had discussions with the NHLPA about the possibility of having a rule requiring all such clauses to be filed with both the NHL Central Registry and the NHLPA. Ultimately, a new software that the two sides could share to store and access the clauses, appeared to be an idea on the table for the league. To get the process started, Daly added that a draft letter agreement had been written and the league was planning on sharing that with the NHLPA today in hopes of jumpstarting negotiations.
- When asked about any possible restrictions on Russian players in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, Daly did not anticipate any restrictions, but did qualify that the state of the world could be much different at that time.
- On the topic of officiating, Bettman explained that he thought the officiating meeting went well, with the topic of the meeting being merely an update, and that it was otherwise uneventful. Bettman also appeared surprised that anyone thought the meeting could be construed as contentious and did not share those beliefs when asked.
- One last topic that many hockey fans may gloss over, is revenue. Bettman mentioned that the league expects revenue to once again hit the $5B mark this year, notwithstanding the attendance restrictions and movement of games in the Canadian markets in late 2021 and early 2022.