The NHL informed teams that the upper limit of the salary cap for the 2017-18 season will be $75 million, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The cap floor will be set at $55.4 million.
That’s a $2 million increase in the salary cap from last season, when teams were allowed to have cap hits up to $73 million. It’s a slightly larger increase than the $1.6 million bump teams received a year ago.
NHL revenues aren’t exactly rocketing up these days, so it was up to the NHLPA’s 5 percent escalator clause to increase the cap. There had been debate among players in recent weeks about how much of the 5 percent escalator would be used, and they appear to have compromised at a figure below 5 percent, but greater than zero.
A full 5 percent increase in the salary cap would’ve reportedly seen it climb over $77 million, but with a larger cap increase comes a larger escrow percentage for players’ paychecks. By not taking the full increase, a smaller portion of players’ money will be withheld from their payments during next season.
This is going to be welcome news for many teams, but especially the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re already over the salary cap with over $77 million in cap commitments for next season, per Cap Friendly, which is why they’re expected to trade Marcus Kruger (and potentially others) soon. A $75 million cap should ease the urgency to make big changes compared to if the cap had stayed flat, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how GM Stan Bowman navigates that situation.