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From The Ice

Bettman, Daly expect NHL salary cap to remain flat

30 May 2016: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media prior to Game One in the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

A number of teams around the NHL were likely hoping that something would enable them to see an increase in the salary cap for the 2016-17 season.

Unfortunately, commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner have suggested that won’t be the case.

The flat salary cap means that teams will have likely somewhere in the ballpark of $71 million to spend next season, causing problems for the number of teams that are already pressed up against the cap – including the Chicago Blackhawks (who have $21 million in cap space committed to just two players) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (who are due contract extensions with salary increases for a number of key players this summer).

What this should provide, though, is an interesting situation for the teams that have the most cap space to work with.

The Arizona Coyotes are heading into their offseason with over $34 million in cap space to play with for the upcoming season, even using a flat salary cap for next year. The Carolina Hurricanes are also looking at roughly $30 million in cap space to work with, as are the New Jersey Devils. Teams like those three – who have plenty of roster spots left to fill and plenty of cap space with which to do it – will have an asset that the cap-strapped teams don’t in financial flexibility; between that and the upcoming potential expansion draft, teams may be making more big-name trades this summer than in the most recent seasons.

In regards to the expansion draft, of course, both Bettman and Daly gave some information regarding what could happen there. It was confirmed that there will not be a minimum amount of salary cap space that teams will need to expose, and the teams potentially added to the league with the next expansion draft will not be guaranteed the first overall pick, either.

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