Bill Daly believes NHL salary cap could rise significantly after 2023-24 season

Bill Daly speaks to the media. (Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva via AP)

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is optimistic the salary cap can get a significant boost after the 2023-24 season — a year ahead of earlier forecasts from the league.

“I’ve seen some preliminary estimates recently which would make me more optimistic on the cap gong up sooner whether that’s in two seasons or three seasons, I think it’s more likely than not two seasons rather than three,” Daly said in an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek from European Media Day on Wednesday.

Daly said revenue projections for the 2022-23 season are “very solid” — meaning the cap bump could come ahead of schedule.

In March, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he anticipates the cap to increase by more than $1 million after the escrow is repaid, which was projected to be after the 2024-25 season.

The cap is rising $1 million to $82.5 million for the 2022-23 season.

The cap ceiling rose every season from 2013-14 until the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign.

Daly also addressed potential European expansion in the interview.

“I get the question frequently about whether we’re going to have a permanent presence with European teams here. I certainly can foresee that, I just can’t predict when that happens,” he said. “I think the markets have to become a little more mature. The infrastructure is not the same as North American infrastructure and that’s an obstacle in the short term. But I certainly can see an NHL presence in Europe in the long term.”

Meanwhile, Daly said the league still is aiming to hold a World Cup in February 2024, despite the concern about Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“That’s one of the things we have to evaluate. What is Russia’s participation? Is it Russia’s participation or is it the Russian players’ participation? How can that be organized if we pursue that?” Daly said. “There are a couple moving pieces, dynamics that we’ll figure out as we go along, but we don’t think they’re going to get in the way of having the tournament.”

The full interview will be released in an upcoming episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast.

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