The NHL salary cap for the 2018-19 season is expected to wind up between $79.5 million and $80 million, commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters following the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.
The new figure could be up to a $5 million increase on last season’s $75 million cap, which was up $2 million from 2016-17.
The league and the NHL Players’ Association are expected to reach a final agreement by the end of Thursday.
“A large part of our thinking is we want a (salary cap) number that keeps the escrow down,” Bettman said. “We think by only having a more modest increase last season it was instrumental in keeping the escrow down to what we project will be about 8 percent, which will have been the lowest in years. The amount of the escrow is simply a function of how high the cap is. Higher the cap, higher the escrow. There is no magic to that.”
The escrow pertains to the amount of money the league and NHLPA withhold from player salaries during the season in order to make sure teams and players equally split hockey-related revenue.
Bettman said the league expects revenue growth to increase up to 8.5 percent from last season.
Bettman also provided an update on the NHL’s efforts to expand to Seattle, noting there have been no setbacks in the process despite a timetable not yet being determined.
The league is hopeful Seattle will be playing by the 2020-21 season.
“The timetable on finishing the application and doing what we need to do, we can do that as quickly or as slowly as appropriate,” Bettman said. “That’s a matter of weeks and months, not years. The bigger issue is going to be their timeline on the building.”
KeyArena, expected to be the home for the team, has already had a $600 million renovation plan approved by the Seattle City Council.
—Field Level Media