During last week’s NHL Board meetings, league colleague Gary Bettman declined to disclose salary forecasts for the years 2020-21. This is a change from the last few years, probably because its previous annual forecasts fell short.
Last year, for example, Bettman predicted a $ 83 million wage cap for 2019-20. After all, it reached $ 81.5 million. This is because the NHLPA approved a modest increase in its annual cap inflation to reduce player payroll refunds.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said a league commander said various rows were discussed, including a modest increase to $ 82.5 million. Another governor proposed $ 83.5 million.
The cap could be raised if the payouts for next season are lower than expected.
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Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that players and agents formed their real salaries to avoid putting too much into what was expected to be a year of exclusion (2020-21). With the worry caused by the road until September 2022, there is less real money to be paid next season. This could provide the NHLPA with breathing room to use more than five percent of the compressed air in the lid, according to Friedman.
Several NHL clubs could pray for the latter. A $ 82.5 million ceiling could complicate their efforts to create a competitive role in 2020-21.
CapFriendly shows that the Arizona Coyotes have over $ 80 million invested in 16 players next season. They’ll get some lid relief by placing Marian Hossa ($ 5,275 million) in a long-term injury reserve. However, it will not allow many free agents to rewrite or replace free agents like Taylor Hall, Carl Soderberg, Brad Richardson or limited free agents Christian Fischer and Vinnie Hinostroza.
A slight increase in the cap will make it difficult for the St. Louis Blues to re-capture captain Alex Pietrangelo. The UFA coach could be seeking more than $ 8 million a year for his next contract, but the Blues have already pledged more than $ 73.7 million for 16 players. It may take a cost-cutting trade to re-sign Pietrangelo and fill the rest of the roster.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have over $ 65.6 million tied to just 10 players. Of the top six defenders, only Morgan Rielly is signed beyond this season. Jake Muzzin and Tyson Barrie are their notable UFAs and could spend more than $ 10 million, while Travis Dermott will seek to pay his winnings after completing the initial contract.
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Re-publishing key defensive players could also be a problem for the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have over $ 73 million tied to just 12 players. Restored veteran Kevin Shattenkirk is at UFA, while two-way Anthony Cirelli and junior restaurateur Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak are completing initial contracts. The Bolts have a well-deserved reputation for re-signing players for less than market value, but could still lack sufficient wiggle room to retain all key free agents.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks will be forced to choose between longtime goalkeeper Corey Crawford and 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner. The new Dylan Strome center is in line for a significant increase coming from the original contract. With over $ 71.8 million invested in 15 players, there will be little room for improvement for the rest of the series.