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.
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.