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All signs are pointing to a $83.5 million salary cap for 2023-24

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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The National Hockey League’s calendar officially switches over to 2023-24 as of July 1, and the big uncertainty is the yet-to-be-announced salary cap ceiling for the upcoming season. While a final determination hasn’t been announced quite yet, all signs are pointing to a $1 million rise to a $83.5 million salary cap for the 2023-24 season.
The most definitive suggestion in that direction came via a tweet from NorthstarBets’ Chris Johnston on Wednesday.
All indications are that the players still collectively owe about $70 million in escrow debts related to the COVID-19 disruptions to the NHL’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons – the players are entitled to 50% of revenues under the CBA, and they were paid a larger-than-mandated share during those seasons due to the shortened schedules.
At his press conference prior to the Stanley Cup Final, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: “Based on our current projections, there’ll still be some escrow, and that means that the cap will go up by a million dollars, give or take.” On Wednesday’s edition of the Bob McCown Podcast, new NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh noted that the NHLPA isn’t interested in adjusting escrow for the coming season in an effort to move the cap up by a larger amount.
So for the coming season, unless the NHL throws us a curveball, it really sounds like the cap is only going up by $1 million (to $83.5 million).
But after 2023-24, the escrow debt will be fully paid off and we’ll start seeing more regular bumps in the cap as of 2024-25. Under the CBA memorandum of understanding, there’s a “lag formula” that’s going to be used to control cap growth going forward. Growth is based on revenue from two years ago, and the year-over-year rise in the salary cap is capped at 5%.
So if the 2023-24 salary cap ceiling is set at $83.5 million, then we’ll likely see an increase to $87.7 million for 2024-25 and to $92.0 million for 2025-26. So the NHL’s 32 member clubs, and their players, will have to deal with a bit of a tight cap situation league-wide for this coming season. But a bunch of additional money will be injected into the system beginning in the summer of 2024.

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