NHL Commissioner Bettman Increases Salary Cap for 2017-18 Season

On Sunday, the National Hockey League and Player Association both released a statement that confirmed the salary cap for the 2017-18 will be raised to $75 million.

The lowest amount each team must spend on their players is now $55.4 million, while the upper-limit is getting bumped up $2 million from this last season to $75 million for next year. Commissioner Gary Bettman had mentioned the possibility of a small increase last December. He said the fact that eight of the leagues’ teams are Canadian played a role in the decision, since the value of the Canadian dollar has been struggling lately and Bettman didn’t want to put more financial stress on our northern neighbors.

“It’s something we’re going to have to look at very carefully in terms of how maybe to best approach it,” he had said.

The small increase might be good news for teams struggling to reach that lower limit for player salaries, but it’s probably going to hurt teams with bigger pockets. There were five teams with less than $5 million in cap room before the announcement including the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, and St. Louis Blues. Three of those teams will still have less than $5 million to work with, even with the $2 million increase.

In fact, the Blackhawks will be $2.5 million over the new salary cap given their pricey roster.

There is a way for teams like the Hawks to get around this lack of financial space though. On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights will submit their selections for the expansion draft and may listen to proposals from some of these teams to take overpaid players off their hands. For example, the Blue Jackets are reportedly giving up their 24th pick in the draft for that extra player protection. The Islanders are supposedly doing the same with their 15th draft pick.

Besides this chance to free up space in the budget, teams will have to work out some good old-fashioned trades and buyouts to create enough room for at least 20 active contracts collectively under $75 million by the start of next season.

Featured Image via Wikimedia

Sarah Mulroe grew up watching sports with her father. From listening to the radio and hearing Pat Foley shout "He Scores!" as indication of a Blackhawks goal, or to watching Paul Konerko round the bases while Hawk Harrelson proudly proclaimed his signature, "You can put it on the board, yes," after a White Sox homer, it was clear at a young age that it would become one of her passions.

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