NHL Salary Cap will rise for 2022-2023

Published August 5, 2021 at 11:19

From Seravalli's column:

The NHL is projecting a $1 million bump in the salary cap to $82.5 million next offseason ahead of the 2022-23 season, according to sources, which would mark the first rise in the league's upper-limit since the COVID-19 significantly upended business operations, de-linked the cap from revenue and ballooned a billion-dollar debt load that players are working to pay back to owners.

Until then, the NHL will play a third straight season starting in October with a frozen $81.5 million salary cap, though teams and free agents gained flexibility this summer via the additional money pumped into the system by the Seattle Kraken joining as the league's 32nd franchise.

A rise to $82.5 million in 2022-23 would likely trigger the start of a «lag formula,» as agreed upon in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players' Association in 2020, that could see the salary cap climb $1 million each offseason until the escrow balance owed to owners is paid off.

According to sources, the NHL is projecting hockey-related revenue in the $4.8 billion range for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Given that figure includes the increased revenue generated from the two new U.S. national television rights deals with the Walt Disney Company (ESPN) and Warner Media (Turner Sports), plus the juice from a new Kraken club that will almost surely be in the top quartile in revenue, that the NHL's projection is still south of the pre-pandemic pace of $4.9 billion in 2019-20 would suggest that league bean counters believe some buildings will not be back to full capacity for at least a chunk of this upcoming season.

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