Bettman: NHL salary cap will remain flat or near flat for ‘immediate future’

Gary Bettman explains if the NHL and ESPN TV agreement will impact the league’s salary cap.

It appears there won’t be much movement for the NHL’s salary cap over the coming seasons.

During a press conference Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked when the league’s new media rights deal with ESPN would have an impact on the NHL’s salary cap. In response, Bettman said the salary cap will likely remain stagnant as part of the four-year collective bargaining agreement extension with the NHLPA.

“As part of that, the salary cap is basically going to be flat until we recover the overpayments through the escrow that we’ve built up both in the return to play from last season, which obviously had to be concluded under different circumstances, and this season we’re obviously… there’s a major escrow building up because of the fact that there’s no attendance,” Bettman said.

Attendance or lack thereof, Bettman added, directly and indirectly accounts for roughly half of the league’s revenues.

“So I think everybody is focusing on a flat cap or a near-flat cap for the immediate future,” he said.

The upper limit for the salary cap this season is listed as $81.5 million. The number was unchanged from the 2019-20 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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