Salary cap could go up in 2024-25, just in time for Maple Leafs and Canucks

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discuss all the news around the NHL and how Olympic protocols could impact players.

The expected salary cap increase for the 2024-25 season could prove to be good timing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks.

During the annual Board of Governors meeting in Florida earlier this week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that because the league's revenues were trending toward $5 billion, the projected salary cap would go up by $1 million for the 2022-23 season.

In addition, they added that the 2024-25 season could have a further increase, which Sportsnet's Jeff Marek said could be good for two of Canada's big-spending teams.

"Gary Bettman mentioned something interesting as well, he said in three seasons ... the NHL players will have paid off their escrow debt and the salary cap will get a significant bump," Marek said on the 32 Thoughts segment during Hockey Night in Canada. "And that pleased two Canadian teams, specifically the Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks because Auston Matthews' and William Nylander's deals are up then, and for the Vancouver Canucks, for whomever the general manager is, will have a clean slate to work on Elias Pettersson's next contract."

Matthews' current five-year, $58-million deal runs out after the 2023-24 season, as does Nylander's six-year, $45-million contract. And because the Leafs like to spend right to the cap, any wiggle room provided by an increase in the cap would make life a little easier for the team.

Similarly, Pettersson's three-year contract totalling $22 million expires after 2023-24, but he'll be a restricted free agent. Nonetheless, the GM for the club will have more leeway with an increased salary cap.

The commissioner said at the Board of Governors meeting that for the next two seasons the salary cap will remain relatively flat while players make escrow payments to balance the revenue sharing losses as the result of two seasons cut short by the pandemic.

The salary cap did not increase from its current ceiling -- $81.5 million -- because of reduced attendance and lost revenue streams, leading to that decision ahead of the 2021-22 season.

The league's salary cap has been $81.5 million in each of the past two seasons.

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