Let’s start with a disclaimer: It’s early, but as things currently stand, general managers have stopped assuming that the salary cap will go up next season, based on a New York Post report.
There are a couple reasons why that might be the case. For one thing, the Canadian dollar has weakened to the point where it’s valued at around 87 cents American, which isn’t great for the seven Canadian squads. There’s also a belief that the NHLPA won’t chose to exercise a 5% boost for next season over concerns about escrow money.
Per the Post:
That might mean a stagnant cap in the $69 million range, which fall some $5 million to $6 million shy of previous optimistic projections.
That would mean that clubs facing a cap crunch now cannot responsibly count on relief for next season. That has put a hold on extension negotiations.
When the union votes on the 5-percent bump is held in late June, players with contracts for next season will be on one side of the aisle while pending free agents will be on the other side. The cap divides and the league conquers.
That could be problematic for teams that have already signed their players to extensions. For example, Chicago is projected to have roughly $65.8 million in cap space tied to just 15 players in 2015-16, per Cap Geek, in part because Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane’s matching eight-year, $84 million contract extensions will kick in. The Philadelphia Flyers would also be in a tough spot as they have over $66 million tied to 17 players.