Salary cap estimate for next season falls to $74 million, with one notable assumption

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Next season’s salary cap is now expected to be $74 million, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters this morning at the general managers meetings in Boca Raton. That figure is slightly lower than the $74.5 million estimate that was provided in December.

There is, however, one caveat about the new estimate. It assumes the NHLPA won’t propose an alternative growth factor to the standard five percent, as is the union’s right under the CBA, and a possibility given the players’ concerns over escrow.

According to Daly, with no growth factor (sometimes referred to as the “escalator”), the salary cap will remain at or around its current level of $71.4 million.

So, a big decision for the NHLPA. Pending free agents will want to keep the standard growth factor so that the cap goes up; those players who already have contracts may push to propose something lower so that escrow goes down.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith