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Report: NHL salary cap ceiling could increase by $3–4 million for 2023–24 season

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
6 months ago
After remaining largely flat for the last four seasons, the National Hockey League’s salary cap ceiling could be primed to go way, way up in time for the start of 2023–24.
Daily Faceoff‘s Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuk discussed the prospect of a sizeable increase from the current $82.5 million threshold on Monday’s edition of the OilersNation Everyday show:
Tyler Yaremchuk: “There is a real chance this thing goes up three or four million, right?”
Frank Seravalli: “Yeah, 100%. And I think it’s in fact the most likely avenue given where we are with revenues, given where we are with the amount of money that’s been paid back. Probably 95 or 97 percent of the debt that was owed from players to owners. No stakeholder that’s involved in this process wants to see the cap frozen for another year.”
Here’s a bit of background. Last fall, Seravalli reported on Daily Faceoff that the escrow balance owed by players to the league’s owners was projected to be in the ballpark of $70 million, based on the collectively-bargained 50/50 revenue split between the NHL and its Players’ Association.
Although that figure represented a reduction of approximately 95 percent from the reported $1.5 billion debt owed by the players in the 2020–21 season, Seravalli indicated that the league was unwilling to raise the cap by more than an additional $1 million — to $83.5 million — for 2023–24 unless they incurred significant playoff revenues to offset the extra money earned by the players.
But here’s the rub. According to Seravalli on an episode of the FlamesNation BarnBurner show last week, the players now have some additional leverage with the league in the form of more than $100 million in hockey-related revenue (HRR) claims, which could be used in a negotiation for a more significant cap increase.
Seravalli: “The players have a series of outstanding HRR claims going back, I think, three seasons, which I believe results in more than $100 million in claims. I think that Gary Bettman wants them to walk from those claims in exchange for the cap going up by a certain threshold next season, which they can do without increasing the escrow cap. It will be a negotiation, and this will be the first test for Marty Walsh, the new NHLPA executive director.”
If the cap does, indeed, go up by $3-4 million for next season, that’d mean between $96 million and $128 million in extra spending room across the league. Not a bad deal, although substantive negotiations have yet to take place.
The potential ramifications of this for the Canucks are obvious, with Elias Pettersson soon in need of a new contract and reports flying around that the team is looking to shed a big contract this summer. Not only would a big cap increase give the Canucks more room, but it’d also give other teams more leeway to take on more money.
We’ll keep you updated on where this goes.

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