Report: NHL Salary Cap Could Go Down?

An upcoming vote by the NHLPA will make an enormous impact on next season.

Even though the NHL’s salary cap for the 2016-17 season was expected to go up to around $74M back in March, last week NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated last week that his expectations are that the cap remains “relatively flat” for next season. Which would mean the cap would be around the $71.4M that it was for the 2015-16 season.

Which doesn’t do the Blackhawks – and many other teams – any favors.

But that’s assuming the NHLPA votes for an increase, which takes more money out of their pockets via escrow. If the NHLPA doesn’t vote for the increase, the cap could go down.

From Elliotte Friedman and Sportsnet:

Meanwhile, the NHLPA meets this week in Chicago, and, among the discussion topics is if the membership will vote to raise the cap by up to five per cent, as is its right. It’s happened every year but once, and that was a decade ago, the first time this option existed. In recent seasons, players have made more noise about saying no, as it hurts their escrow payments. But whenever the moment of truth arrives, they go for the max.

Friedman followed that up by saying during the Game 3 telecast that “if [the players] don’t vote to increase the salary cap by five per cent, there’s a chance it could go down below $70 million next year.”

The Blackhawks have approximately $65.9M committed to 17 NHL roster players for next year, not including Andrew Shaw (who is a restricted free agent).

A decision is needed by June 30; NHL free agency begins on July 1.

58 thoughts on “Report: NHL Salary Cap Could Go Down?

  1. End of a great eight year era for the Hawks. Hopefully in two or three years we can be back to being a true Stanley Cup contender. But the next year or two is going to be rough even with the aging core remaining. They will be surrounded by nothingness, and that just won’t work.

  2. The Hawks are in real trouble if thats the case. Kiss Shaw goodbye, which is likely anyways. Also Hawks fans can thank Jim Nill for blueprint “screw trade” last yr, with Tuevo rumored to be needed to be included with any Bickell trade. Unless Stan does a better job freeing up money your 16-17 Hawks are going to look alot like your 2010-2011 Hawks. Chris Campoli anyone?

  3. Tab if Bickell quits hockey due to a medical reason ( becomes a Hawks ambassador) and is paid ….does the money still count towards the salary cap?

  4. First, Tab is right. Many teams will be affected negatively by a Cap reduction. Is this a precurser to expansion? Gonna need 50 players for 2 NHL teams and another 50 players to create a farm system for each team. That will be one way of diluting salary for a lowered Cap

  5. If the nhl is going to continue with this cap then they have to implement some sort of franchise protection to teams like the nfl does. I would go as far as to say that any players you draft are cap exempt or maybe at least 7 drafted players. Why should teams that scout and draft well have to feed the rest of the league? Plus I dont see how you can have a league that is using to different countries economies. That just seems invite problems.

  6. Face it the NHL is in a bad place financially. Anyone that follows the game should have heard about the impending crunch. Alot of this is tied to not only the Canadian dollar but Oil prices. Things have been better since Q1 but its not great. Here is one of about 10 articles spelling this out. Keep in mind this was in Jan. Feel free to bury your head in the sand bu the Hawks are not in a good place with their cap. Not better way to kill a good team then paying well into their 30’s big money.

  7. a) Bickell isn’t becoming an ambassador
    b) this is the risk of being a ceiling team.
    c) this creates parity, which is how every team in the league has been in at least one postseason in the last 11 years.
    d) Shamrock’s “every player you draft is cap exempt” idea actually made me laugh out loud. good stuff
    e) ICYMI (which apparently many here have), there will probably only be ONE expansion team (in Vegas).

  8. I had a thought the other day regarding the draft…but pretty unrelated to the cap.

    Lower the draft Eligibility age, but keep or raise the age when a player can play in the show.

    Mike, regarding expansion. If it happens it seems it will be just Vegas. Had Seattle put in a bid it may be two. But they didn’t, and whatever mojo QC had just isn’t there anymore. That can be a number of reasons before you get to the Canadian dollar.

    If Bickell retires he would forfeit 4 million. But it would come off the books. If he’s “injured” he can be placed on LTIR. Seeing as how he was playing injury free I think he’d want to keep playing and try to earn another paycheck, whatever it would be. If the Hawks put him on LTIR and he wasn’t OK with it there would be a grievance.

    Chris Campoli was a serviceable player. Played 19 regular season games and all 7 playoff games. Perhaps some better names from that team are Fernando Pisani, Jassen Cullimore, or Ryan Johnson.

    The 16/17 Hawks won’t ice those kinds of players.

  9. This would affect every top 10 team, making the midtier teams better. It will also make the core players of every team stand out and moar meaningful. Make the role players not as valuable because there wont be any left on the good teams.

    We have the top core in hockey.

    If they do this they need to let every team do the expansion draft thing.

  10. Here’s a new and never before mentioned thought for this blog: Trade Crawford for a couple draft picks and free up that $6 mil. In 2 years we’re going to be looking to get rid of him anyway, so why not do it when he has real value? How many of the high $$ goalies are still in the hunt right now? Zero. How many of the high $$ goalies had a real impact in the playoffs this year? Zero. Buy out Bickell as well, and all of a sudden we have around $8 mil to play with. Hard times require difficult solutions.

    OK, time to change the bong water.

  11. “The 16/17 Hawks won’t ice those kinds of players.” Ernie, come on…this year’s names will be Svedberg, Rundblad, and a washed up Rosy: players that will sign for 500k. Had to give you some grief on that remark.

    I doubt very much this will happen. Can you imagine the devastation this will have to 1/3 rd of the teams in the league. They are at the cap!!! That in itself could do irreparable damage to the fan base and the integrity of the NHL as a whole.

  12. Off topic. Elite Prospects has Dennis Rasmussen rumored to be going back to Sweden.

  13. League minimum in 15/16 was 575k

    Look how many players from 10/11 and 11/12 never played in the league again.

    Rozsival or Cullimore?
    Rundblad or Campoli?
    Svedberg or John Scott?

    I think I’ll take the former all 3 times

    I wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t see any of those three names listed above.

    Kempny for Rozsival
    Pokka for Rundblad
    Gustafson for Svedberg.

    Ryan Johnson was signed off the street in December and had time as 2c.

  14. Rasmussen never did anything for me. Subpar skating. Subpar at the dot. Subpar hands. Had size… Fantastic.

  15. Could go down ….. Means nothing ….Could means maybe …not the time to panik its just another way to make people realize that nothing is sure …i would bet $ that it will not go down ……,off course not having any Canadian team in the playooff didnt help for sponsor …lets hope the Canadian money goes up another 5-7% in the next few months

  16. How bout a feel good story,.,.,.one better than ma,ma getting John sr. home for christmas on Waltons Mountain,.,.,or better than Cooter and Uncle Jessie pulling a fast one on old Boss Hogg,.,.,Trevor Daley one game away from a CUP ring!!!!!
    Now that was a hell of a trade.

    Great picture of Stan to start this off,.,,.nice

  17. Not Bowman fault if IQ didnt want to play Daley…..IQ didnt like Daley and never tried to let him play for the Hawks …so Bowman tried to get some salary cap off the book …

  18. Trevor Daley has a broken leg. So yeah he might get a ring. But he’s not playing. Daley was garbage before the trade. A trade that Daley requested. It’s funny how a system change helps or hurts a player so immensely. Justin Schultz is another. Conversely look at David Perron. Awful with the Penguins. Damn good with the Ducks. Olli Matta, all world at the Olympics. Healthy scratch in the playoffs. It’s not just q it happens to. Daley was getting nearly 20 minutes a night before Q wouldn’t play him because he wouldn’t play his system. Defenseman defend and make that good first pass out of the zone. Something Svedberg can do, everything else is suspect. Daley wants to skate it out and do it himself. Then when he’s behind the goal and the pucks going the other direction after turning it over q puts a check next to his name in that notebook.

  19. Change can be good-add Nick Spaling to the list of players who benefited by the change of team and system-(plus he played for DeBoer in the ‘O’.) The way Fleischmann played for the Hawks in the first two weeks it looked like that one would be a nice change.
    I’m in the stop the ‘Svedberg Project’–a mild mannered giant with pretty slow feet/body adjustments. I don’t care if there are cap considerations or not–they can find another sub million dollar guy.

  20. On a Positive note:

    Pens are “doing” this with a bunch of fast “no names” as role players…

    So if Hawks can fill in the blanks- Motte is one guy-imo

    Hawks – can be back- but need a couple of more “speed demons”- who can play the system…

    Sullivan’s “system”/coaching seems to be the BIG difference!!!
    Kinda reminds me of watching TT’s U20 Gold Finland team…. Just pushed the Puck quickly to open spaces… and outskated/out quicked teams… ( TT is NOT good at holding puck versus check…) defensively- similar to Hawks style- rely on great fast back check, and a lot of zoning up.

  21. @ Wall

    Unfortunately the Hawks have moved alot of their picks anyways. They are currently shortly 6 picks in the next 3 drafts. 1st & 2nd this year, 3rd & 7th next yr, and 2nd & 3rd in 18. The more I look at this the more rotten it appears!

  22. Off topic, but …

    In 2015-2016, Hawks Penalty Kill dropped from 83.4% (10th in NHL) to 80.3% (22nd in NHL).

    Why? How do we fix it?


    A 4th defenseman should help across the board. Lets hope that Kempny can be that. As Hossa ages his skills will continue to decline. Hossa was a STUD defensive player in his prime. He is above average now but not what he once was. Hossa is a HOF player, its hard to replace generational players. Maybe the Hawks will look at taking Hoss off of some of the special teams units or lightening his load.

  24. SB has a LOT of work to do to say the least!!!!!!!!
    Read recently the Bickell contract was NOT SBs decision.
    I suspect many player movements are made by committee.
    While I can believe that, the whole truth is probably some where in the middle.

  25. PK will take care of itself with Krugs and an adjustment period (like we had after Frozal, then Smitty got better/we had settled on good rotation). Now we have Saader, then 15/? and not 81 for him to be fresh. Same thing just get the rotation with those kind of guys. Only thing we need is full roster, finding no name role players will complete our roster with the top core in Hockey.

  26. Ernie, from Sam Fels article

    As we’ve debated over the years, we really have no idea how much of the show Stan gets to run. I’m fairly sure he is way, way far from autonomous, and I’m fairly positive if he went to the mat and told McD, “Q or me,” he’d get laughed right out of the building. So I don’t know what to apportion to Stan and what not to. I have it on fairly good authority the Bickell contract, the biggest millstone around his neck for four seasons now, was not his decision. So you see the problems.

  27. The cost of winning the Cup against Boston was $16 million because Brian Bickel was a beast in that series. Without him I doubt the Hawks win. So is 16 mil to much to pay for the Stanley Cup? I don’t think so because that banner looks mighty good hanging from the rafters at the UC.

  28. Mike, that’s interesting to say the least. I’ve heard that before but can’t remember the context. I believe it was the return on the Sharp trade. I know the whole Q or me thing is kind of a BS example. But I’d probably laugh him out of the room too and tell him to quit drinking. Would you tell your boss it’s him or me? (I tried that once…I’m Foreman, my dad’s the owner. Had an employee that nobody could stand but because of a fear of a higher unemployment insurance bill he wouldn’t fire him. This kid could screw up a wet dream and damn near killed me and another guy once. Gave him an ultimatum, I got a long weekend). Personally, I think McDonough needs to let Stan and company make hockey decisions.

    I view a lot like I view Crane Kenney. President of business ops at the cubs. Kenney was viewed as a guy that got in the way. It wasn’t until his strictly president tag was removed and Theo Epstein hired that things got back on track. Epstein, Baseball president. Kenney, business. One could argue the usefulness of a guy like Kenney now that the baseball side of things pretty much runs that business.

    Ditto for the Hawks. No disrespect to McDonough. His results speak for themselves. But when it really comes down to it, do you really need a business guy making hockey decisions? No. The business guy hires the best hockey guys he can to make hockey decisions. Personally, I think McDonough knows this, so while I think he has input I HIGHLY doubt he goes over Stan’s head just because he’s over Stan’s head. He’s smarter than that. For whatever reason people in the media and fans like to think there’s a rift. That management doesn’t get along. Everyone thought Q was getting fired after Arizona. Barry Smith brought in. Stan gives Q control of coaching staff. Oh, that was just a way to give him power so when he fails it’s all on Q. 2 cups later…

  29. Hawks have entered a new era. The new strategy and hope has got to be to get back to true Cup competitiveness in two or three years now. It’s going to be tough for a couple of seasons. We can no longer surround a shrinking and high mileage core with enough of the complementaru pieces needed. The forward mix shapes up downright ugly in 2016-17 once you get past Toews, Kane, Panarin, Anisimov, Kruger and an aging Hossa. On defense we have a ton of question marks behind the big three of Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson. The farm system is virtually empty of any impact or skillsy talents once you get past maybe Motte. And even he is limited. And draft picks are something we no longer have many of the next three years.

    Playoffs can’t be assumed next season. I have faith in the brain trust but it’s going to be an interesting next couple of seasons.

  30. The Hawks have an outstanding goalie, core second to none, and far far better complimentary players than they did in the two seasons after the first Cup.

    I am highly unimpressed w/ the top playoff teams this year; I have watched the playoff games religiously (my wife thinks I love games more than her lol) — I have ZERO ZILCH NO concerns whatsoever re the talent base on teams like San Jose, Pitt, St Louis etc compared to the Hawks.

    The main reason the Hawks were eliminated this year was Q — I’m not advocating he is a bad coach, he isn’t, far from it. I wouldn’t want anyone else coaching this team. That being said, his own analysis post-elimination this year incriminates him. Case closed as to that subject.

    Lastly, Mr. Rufus had Washington & St Louis in the Cup finals after the first round. Whatever he says just bet the opposite.

  31. If the players do what they just might do this time and the salary cap goes down it effects all the teams and will impact many of them quite severely. What a mess for us if this happens. This just may be the year the escalator us nixed by the players. There will be big changes coming for the Blackhawks, the NHL,and the world politically, maybe your own life and employment but .. The sun will continue to rise each morning and we carry on. Rendezvous with destiny arriving soon.

  32. I agree with you RTF it is going to be challenging ahead but the Hawks are still one of the elite teams and what Pittsburgh is doing now just goes to show what can happen. If anyone can honestly say by looking at that roster that they would be this dominant I wouldn’t believe them. Now whether they can replicate that again next year maybe a different story but the lineup outside of their big three Malkin, Crosby, Letang doesn’t look that great on paper.

  33. @ RTF

    Very nicely said. I believe Schmaltz has a good chance to be an impact player at the NHL level but he needs to be signed 1st to truly be counted on as “in the mix”

    @ Ernie

    While I agree with your point of view about McDonough overall dont discount his impact to the organization. McDonough has ALOT to do with the Hawks brand. Hockey operations drives the bus for sure but hockey is a niche sport. Lets not forget that when Rocky assumed control one of his 1st moves was McDonough, even before Scotty was brought over McDonough was that 1st move. Its a fair question with Scotty and Q around how much is Stan actually doing.

  34. Impact and voice, I should say. If it was McDonough that wanted Bickell brought back then chances are that’s why he was signed when most “hockey” people thought the move was horrible from day 1!

    “When the music’s over. Turn out the lights. Turn out the lights. Turn out the lights”

  35. Im not trying to discount McDonough’s contributions. Im just saying he should stay out of hockey decisions. It’s like having Rocky tell hockey ops what to do. Hire the people that make the hockey great. That makes your job easier. Don’t tell them how to make it great…again. Sorry, couldnt resist. I cant stand that guy. I’m voting Libertarian.

  36. it still cracks me up that people throw around blame to pretty much anyone in the organization. Now we’re blaming McD for Bickell’s contract? really? Because 29 was a marketing gimmick? C’mon people…

  37. Probably should clarify my view. I doubt McDonough had anything to do with the Bickell signing. Much like I doubt he forced Stan to go for it as far as a return on Sharp. But if that’s the case he should stay out of it. Any number of teams would have given that contract to Bickell. that was his going rate. You mightbe able to predict a drop off from the unsustainable playoff production. But no one foresaw his production falling off a cliff.

  38. @ Tab

    I dont think anyone is blaming McD, just stating maybe the decision wasnt Stans alone.

  39. Totally disagree with South Side that most people knew the Bickell deal was a bad deal. On the contrary, many thought Bickell was the MVP of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. On draft day one week later, Bolland and Frolik were moved to fit Bickell in and it looked like Stan had brought in a nice haul of 5 assets that day.

    As we all know it did not work out. But the history revisionists are a little off base with the hindsight. We hawks fans thought we had a tremendous power forward to play in the top 6, bang and score clutch goals. Sadly, Bickell was only that for short spirts.

    One of the best lines Stan recently uttered is that the team dwelled on the loss to St. Louis for a couple days and have now moved on and it’s all about 2016-17. St Louis, Dallas and Los Angeles and Anaheim, our yearly competition in the West have “uuuuge” question marks between now and 7/1.

    I’m confident Stan and company, given this extra time to contemplate and strategize, will figure this cap situation out.

    Some teams just do : Chicago 3, Los Angeles 2, pittsburgh soon to be 2. Hmmmm, that leaves 27 envious organizations in my book.

  40. Bickell- shooting % for that SC year for PO’s – was not sustainable…

    Bickell- Pretty much never went to net his entire career (except for that run/In contract year)… which pretty much told me what I needed to know- about 29!!!
    He played for the $$$/contract… and it was an anomaly!!! That was my view/and is my view… classic- underachiever

    contrast that to guys like Shaw and Kruger… who have put their faces/bodies were they don’t belong since their 1st shifts!!! Classic- overachievers

    Let’s hope that Motte- can be a “Fabbri” type blessing for the Hawks next year…
    Should SB have taken Schmaltz over Fabbri??? I guess we will see soon!!!

  41. Craig, the picks the Hawks acquired in the Bolland deal may be pretty good. One being Carl Dahlstrom, the other being Frederik Olofsson. The Hawks Drafted John Hayden and Luke Johnson with the picks acquired from Frolik.

    Also, with Bolland the Hawks flipped the pick they got from Toronto for 2 picks from San Jose. The one in 2013 they used on Robin Norell. With the other pick in 2014 they drafted Luc Snuggerud.

    Out- Bolland and Frolik
    In- John Hayden, Frederik Olofson, Carl Dahlstrom, Luke Johnson, Robin Norell, Luc Snuggerud.

    A lot of people here like Hayden. Tab likes Olofsson. Dahlstrom, Norell, and Johnson are all signed. Personally with Dahlstrom, he sounds like hes a perfect fit in the Q system. He’s got size, sound positionally, can move well, has a good pass.

  42. @ Craig Nigrelli – I called the Bickell deal – years & money – into question immediately. Understood the marketplace context it was signed in… but Bickell had done absolutely nothing outside of 3-4 good weeks to justify a multi-year extension with that kind of money attached to it.

    Please see my comment at 9:50 pm on June 30 on the story announcing the extension.

  43. Look Brian Cambell still has home in Chicago and he made millions so why don’t him & shaw sign for a million with no trade clause this year & increase 2017!18. Like Krueger did ! Talk Hossa in retire after 2017? season and buy out Bickell now Using his $ to pay for those guys ! Then use hossa 5 mil to fulfill promise to them 17/18 Now u got panik to sign and see if Ladd work same kind of deal in hope of cap increase ! Winning Cup to Cambell & Ladd is what matters. Plus give them every commercial request instead of Kane & Towes !

  44. Bowmen can pull this off because Ladd & Cambell want a real shot at cup & the Hawks are by far now better then last years team with them! I read Ladd wants secure place for his family & $’wasn’t a issue. Chicago will embrace him!Hossa will be idolized and is truely HOF bound so Stan will you work your magic wand and talk to them cause they want to play for the most elite team in the NHL

  45. @ Slammer
    Hossa’s contract is structured such that if he retires any time between now and 2020 the team will still eat $4.275 million in cap space. If he plays, the cap hit is always $5.275 million until then (if he retires NOW, the cap hit is about $3.5 million a year until 2020). So Hossa won’t be going anywhere nor will the majority of his cap hit. Him retiring saves the Blackhawks about $1 million a year in cap hit, but that money doesn’t go a long way toward a signing of a good player.
    Shaw isn’t going to take $1 million at his age and talent level. The way his brains get beat in on a continuous basis, I wouldn’t blame him for going for as much as he could get, although I definitely want him back.

    In other news, Sharks get by Pens in game 5. Crosby gets in a little scrum at the end of the game. Good stuff. Pretty good hockey is being played in the SCF even if our beloved Blackhawks aren’t involved.

    Go Blackhawks!!!!

  46. U can see why Tallon was let go ! Brutal contracts. Ok Cambell can settle for less at his age & use Bickel left over cash to have a solid D which was huge problem. And as for shaw he would take less this year and have the difference made up following year cause the rest of bickell buyout cash is gone. So it becomes a back loaded contract with no trade clause ! It’s better than playing for jackets like Saad. Which is not even a hockey town ! Shaw rather get his head beat in on a back loaded contract for a cup contender than a loser team that pays him more and suck

  47. Oh ya Cambell will take less seeing how he was over paid by Tallon back then and now he’s older. Which leaves shaw enough to stay

  48. Ok help me out if they buy him out its a 1 mil cap hit for 16/17 & 1.5 mil hit 17/18. Or bury him save 950. That’s how u get Cambell if he bites on a mil. Hawks are around 69 858 and if cap goes to 71 mil shaw signs for 2.5 & Not sure if Runblad 1.05 & Svedberg 750 is on cap but Runblad both cheap dumps & use that for Panik. Or pkg bickell eat 2 mil & save 2 mil ! Question is what icehogs prospect you toss in with bickell Bowmen got to keep teuvo after losing so many young guys dead line trades. Now if cap goes over 71 you got breathing room. Bury Bickell & 4 mil gone 17-18 to extend Shaw 1 year deal. So what did I mis

  49. Tab, good call on Bickell back then. You were right, it’s there for all to read.

    Count me in as one of the people who thought Bickell was going to turn out more like Cam Neely than John Druce.

    2 weeks until the draft where all GMs and hockey people are in one place. I am somewhat confident that Stan is going to have a really good weekend. Keep in mind he is a business major from Notre Dame. He has had 2 months to figure this thing out instead of quick decisions in the past few years that had to be made within hours of the parade.

    I think they will buy out Bickell within 48 hours of the end of the Pens/sharks series.

    Also, Stan had stated on one of the podcasts that leading up to a trade he might have roughly 25 conversations with a fellow GM, before making the deal. I found that stunning. But if his estimate is in fact true, then it would realistic to conclude he has had dozens of conversations on players like Shaw, Teuvo, Crawford.

    I am hoping for a “hockey trade”.

    Handing the Isles : Leddy, Dallas : sharp and johns , Winnipeg :byfuglien, Ladd(2x really), has hurt.

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