On Friday afternoon, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met the media at the United Center and addressed a number of important topics within the game of hockey. He directly addressed the possibility of team relocation, the 2011 Winter Classic(s) and the broken relationship between the league and the IIHF.
It was one of his smaller points, that wasn’t dealt with in the question-answer session, that could have the biggest impact on the Blackhawks.
While he was discussing the financial health of the NHL, Bettman indicated that the league’s revenues saw an “increase of four percent” this year, but then completed the statement by saying that number was partially an increase in revenue and partly due to the Canadian dollar’s increased strength against the US dollar. Bettman then indicated that this increase was substantial enough that the Players’ Association could choose to execute a full five percent escalator on the salary cap for next season.
The translation: according to Bettman, if the Players’ Association votes to do so, the salary cap could go up as much as $2 million in 2010-11. This is more than double the Commissioner’s previous statements that the cap could go up by as much as $700-900,ooo.
The 2009-10 salary cap was $56.8 million US. The Blackhawks currently have 14 players signed for 2010-11 for $57.7 million.
While the Blackhawks will certainly have to cut salary before next season begins, this news coming directly from the Commissioner is encouraging for the Blackhawks and their fans. A $58-59 million salary cap would give the Blackhawks substantially more flexibility with the moves the have to make before next season begins.
CommittedIndians is not going to directly address the summer’s salary issues until after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.