For about a decade now, the Chicago Blackhawks have operated under the constraints of a salary cap that never seems to go up high enough.
But that could change within the next year.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media on Friday following a luncheon with the Montreal chamber of commerce. Many of the media’s questions centered on the rumors swirling around Houston and Seattle being the next cities to add a hockey team and the need for new arenas in both Ottawa and Calgary.
But this tweet from Sportsnet reporter Chris Johnston is the one that is most relevant to Blackhawks fans.
Gary Bettman says NHL revenues in 2017-18 will be between $4.5-billion and $5-billion.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 17, 2017
Why is that so important? Because the salary cap figure for each team is generated by taking a percentage of the total revenues generated by the league. The salary cap for the 2017-18 NHL season is at $75 million, just a mild increase over the $73 million figure from 2016-17 and $71.4 million in 2015-16. But those revenue numbers cited by Bettman would mean a significant increase for the 2018-19 NHL season, according to The Athletic’s James Mirtle.
If NHL revenues are as robust as Bettman said today, the salary cap will go way up next summer. Plausibly $80- to $82-million. Pretty interesting.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) November 18, 2017
A salary cap increase between $5 million and $7 million would be significant relief for a Blackhawks team that will need to re-sign restricted free agents John Hayden and Ryan Hartman in the upcoming offseason, with just under $40 million of salary cap space committed to the quintet of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.