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Gary Bettman hints at higher salary cap next season

Mar 14, 2012, 4:23 PM EST

Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

After telling NHL general managers to take a “business as usual” approach despite CBA uncertainty, commissioner Gary Bettman dropped some interesting tidbits to reporters including The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle.

Despite the rather elementary – almost flippant – delivery of his response, Bettman’s take on next season’s salary cap certainly seems interesting:

On the salary cap going up over the summer before a new CBA comes in: “Revenues continue to grow so you know how the system works. Revenues grow, the cap grows.”

That probably seems painfully simple, but one of the worries heading into the new CBA negotiations was that owners may try to dial back the salary cap. That might still be the case, but it’s promising to hear Bettman say that the cap is likely to rise.

Heightened floor?

What he didn’t discuss was the salary cap floor. One interesting (and one would assume, at least slightly less contentious) possible debate for the CBA talks revolves around the possibility of “relaxing” the minimum amount a team must spend to be cap complaint. The higher ceiling is fantastic for the Chicago/Pittsburgh/Detroit’s of the NHL, but smaller market teams often struggle to spend enough to stay in the game.

If you take Bettman’s quote as a totally accurate prediction, one would guess that the floor would follow the ceiling’s lead – and make lower-budget teams continue to strain with it.

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As with all of this talk, we’ll ultimately just need to wait and see. Yet with big-ticket players like Shea Weber set to hit the unrestricted free agent market, things could be a lot more fun if teams are allowed to spend big.

(Well, they might not end up that fun for the Nashville Predators, but still.)

  1. BSpeedman - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    As a Flyers fan, it’s good to hear that the salary cap will continue to grow. But your statement, “with big-ticket players like Shea Weber set to hit the unrestricted free agent market…,” is incorrect. According to CapGeek.com, and unfortunately for the Flyers, Weber is set to become a Restricted Free Agent. http://capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=19

    • joethorntonisclutch - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      You’re right and wrong at the same time my friend. The way it actually works is that when he signed his massive $7.5 million dollar contract (which was awarded to him by arbitration, NOT the Predators) he put the Preds in a tough position. They clearly didn’t want to pay Weber that kind of money (or they would have not had the issue go to arbitration) but the NHL gave it to him anyway. What this means is that the Preds, a team who don’t want to fork out $7.5 million dollars a year for a player, have to offer Weber a contract that is at LEAST worth that $7.5 million by the time July 1st comes around.

      Simply put there are two situations:

      Situation A.) Predators give Shea Weber the big offer sheet of $7.5 or more and he stays a restricted free agent with the predators.

      Situation B.) Predators don’t give Shea Weber the big offer sheet (as they did not when he went to arbitration) and he tests the waters of free agency, gets snatched by a team willing to pay him what he’s worth and the Predators go back to being a grind-it-out defensive team without a real star defenseman. (No, Suter does not count as a real star, sorry.)

  2. seaner44 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Bettman is such an ass. I think he believes that all NHL fans are either ignorant or complete morons, or both.

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