After months of believing that the NHL salary cap would likely be going up around $3 million or so next year, a new report has started circulating that the salary cap could be going the opposite way once the league makes an official announcement later this year.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the cap for the 2016-17 season could fall below $70 million. It was $71.4 million for the 2015-16 season.
“The players were told this week when they met at the NHLPA meetings if they don’t vote to increase the salary cap by five percent, there’s a chance it could go down under $70 million next year,” Friedman told Sportsnet. “Not yet decided, but that’s potentially what they’ve been told.”
The statement about the vote is key to all of this. It’s really hard to imagine the NHLPA not voting for a salary cap increase. In fact, it’s only happened one time and that was before the 2006-07 season. However, it is a possibility that they don’t for the five percent increase.
If they don’t, teams like Chicago, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh could be in trouble with fitting their rosters under the cap. On the opposite end of the spectrum, organizations like Buffalo, Calgary, Boston and New Jersey could be salivating at the possibility of getting top level players from contending teams that can’t afford to keep them.
That being said, there is still the possibility that the salary cap remains the same for 2016-17. It’s just hard to gauge what’s going to happen until a vote actually happens with the NHLPA.