BOSTON — The March 2 NHL trade deadline is fast approaching and general managers around the league will be wary of acquiring players with contract term beyond this season because of the uncertainty of next year’s salary cap.
The salary cap ceiling for the 2014-15 campaign is $69 million, with the floor set at $51 million. Despite the new TV rights deal in Canada with Rogers Sportsnet, which began this season, the upper limit for 2015-16 might not be as high as some people expected over the summer.
One of the reasons for that is the decline of the Canadian dollar, which as of this writing is around 80 cents to the U.S. dollar. The salary cap is tied to hockey-related revenue, and the Canadian dollar is a major factor given how much of that revenue is generated by Canadian teams.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during the second intermission of Tuesday night’s Boston Bruins-Vancouver Canucks game at TD Garden that the Canadian dollar would not cause next season’s cap to “fall off a cliff.”
“You know, the estimate so we can run through this, the estimate I gave the board in December — assuming the 5 percent inflator in the collective bargaining agreement, and that was when the Canadian dollar was 88 cents — was 73 million,” Bettman said. “If the Canadian dollar is at 80 cents for the rest of the season, I think it’s somewhere in the high 71’s, maybe 72.
“I think the fluctuation we’re talking about, based on a lower Canadian dollar than 88 cents, is about a million dollars, give or take 100,000 or two off of the original 73 estimate. And on a cap that’s over 70 million dollars, I don’t view that as overly dramatic. I think if you did the calculation, if — so nobody gets this wrong, I’m not projecting it, I’m just going to give you the math — if the Canadian dollar dropped to 75 cents, which it’s not, I think the cap would still be 71 and a half.
“So, my only point in doing that reference — I’m not prognosticating the cap or the Canadian dollar — I’m simply making a point that’s the way the math works. I know there’s been some suggestion that the cap’s going to fall off a cliff; it’s not, with the Canadian dollar even where it is now.”
This is encouraging news for high-spending teams with little room under the cap to re-sign players and/or make trades. The Bruins are among the teams close to the cap and have five unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents on its current roster, per NHLNumbers.com.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Young/Canadian Press