NHL Dumps Salary Cap Minimum for Expansion Draft: Report

Among the proposed expansion draft rules — which have not been formally announced in any way — one of the initially proposed rules appears to have been struck, according to a report from ESPN’s Craig Custance. There will not be a minimum amount of salary cap that must be exposed by each team.

Those initial rules came from what NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly presented to the GMs in March, according to reports at that time. It had to go through the NHLPA after that, and there’s still work to be done, but, behind closed doors, they appear to be getting closer to what the rules will be.

The rules will only be announced if a decision to expand is made. That decision will be made public, whether that’s one, two or no new teams, on June 22.

What Teams Have the Least Flexibility in an Expansion Draft?

The big change since the initial report, according to Custance, is that a clause requiring every team to expose at least 25 percent of their salary cap has been struck from the proposed rules. There are going to penalties for teams that are not compliant with the rules, and it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for some teams to be forced to protect every player with a no movement clause (NMC) and expose 25 percent of their salary.

“At one point it was contemplated that there would be a minimum threshold of salary made available. That’s not part of the current formation,” Daly told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

He did clarify that there will be salary cap rules in play, but that it won’t be this big rule. Daly declined to clarify what those rules might be.

This makes sense, since teams aren’t going to want to be put in an impossible situation that forces a lot of moves just to get compliant with the rules of an expansion draft. Daly says that the penalty for non-compliant teams will be significant. “Losses of draft picks and/or players,” he told ESPN.

The rules that allow fewer players to be protected, compared to past expansion drafts, and the initially proposed salary cap clause are all part of a plan that allows any potential expansion team to become competitive as soon as possible.

The ESPN report again confirmed that players with NMCs will have to be protected by the teams, while players with no trade clauses can be exposed to the expansion draft. Those players with NMCs will count against the number of players a team can protect. They can each protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender, or, should they decide to protect more defensemen, they can protect eight total skaters and a goaltender. There is no option to protect two goaltenders.