Bettman: NHL salary cap likely to rise by just $1 million for 2023-24 season

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
10 months ago
It’s certainly disappointing news, but it’s news nonetheless.
Ahead of Saturday night’s game one of the Stanley Cup Final between the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference where answered questions on a number of topics.
One of those topics — and one that’s been of the hot-button variety of late — is the NHL’s salary cap upper limit for the 2023-2024 season. Bettman said that the most likely increase will remain at $1 million for this summer, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
Unfortuantely for absolutely everyone involved, the league is waiting until the players pay back the entirety of their debt to the owners as a result of the pandemic, as explained in the NHL’s memorandum of understanding from the return to play. There was some level of hope that since over 90% of debt is already paid, that the NHL would allow a modest increase of $3-4 million for the 2023-24 season, with another similar increase coming in 2024-25.
Instead, the league is choosing to wait until the debt is paid back entirely, which should result in a sharp increase of at least $6 million in the salary cap upper limit for 2024-25.
Bettman said back in March that the league was doing very well financially and that generating an additional $100 million in hockey-related revenue beyond the season’s current projections would result in a jump larger than $1 million for 2023-24. In 2022-23, the cap jumped up by $1 million to $82.5 million and it’ll likely be set at $83.5 million for the 2023-24 season.
This news is obviously a tough blow for almost every team in the league, but perhaps none more than the Vancouver Canucks, who are already projected to be over the salary cap heading into next season. Another year of flat cap will greatly inhibit teams’ ability to be active in free agency, and will force teams — like the Canucks — to buyout or give up assets to trade away good players in order to simply gain salary cap flexibility.
The NHL salary cap is typically officially set sometime in mid-June, so we’ll see what ends up happening in the coming weeks.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t look promising.

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