Canucks and Pettersson ready to take advantage of planned salary cap increase

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A tip (up) of the cap would be fine with the Vancouver Canucks and their star center

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National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly paints a rosy picture of the league’s financial situation, and if things go as well as he hopes, it will be good news for the Canucks. Vancouver and Elias Pettersson.

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Appearing on Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast with hosts Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, Daly said the league’s revenue projections are so strong that additional escrow funds owed by players under NHL-signed deals and NHLPAs for a return to play in 2020 will be reimbursed by the summer of 2024, which would allow for an increase in the NHL salary cap.

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It’s that summer that Pettersson will need a new contract. The Canucks star center just signed a three-year contract that carries an annual cap of US$7.35 million, the team-high.

If the restricted free agent plays as well as the Canucks hope he will play in future seasons, he’ll be up for a big raise.

And the more heading space available, the better.

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Pettersson’s agent, Pat Brisson, told Postmedia via text Wednesday that he had heard projections similar to those Daly had spoken about publicly.

And when it was noted that would be good news for his 2024 free agents, Brisson deftly texted the OK emoji.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images Files

At the same time, a higher cap will bring some relief to the Canucks management team. The only other big deal they’re likely to face this offseason will be Vasily Podkolzin’s second NHL contract, as he comes out of his entry-level three-year deal.

The big decisions regarding Bo Horvat and JT Miller currently hanging over the team will be well in the rearview mirror in 2024, so the more cap space to plan for, the better.

The NHL and players have split the league’s total hockey-related revenue 50/50, and most seasons since the current financial structure was agreed upon – the owners won this setup after the 2012 lockout -13 – players have had part of their full salaries withheld to maintain the 50/50 formula.

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When the COVID pandemic hit and crowd restrictions were imposed, NHL revenues plummeted. The players agreed to sacrifice more of their salaries in exchange for not facing a decreasing salary cap or other measures the owners might have pushed.

The 2019-20 NHL season wasn’t over, and players gave up their last paycheck to help the league keep going. The fact that there were no fans in any building for the playoffs that year, along with the loss of about the last sixth of the regular season, caused league revenue to plummet in 2019-20 d a projection of $5 billion to approximately $3.8 billion (all figures in US dollars), according to the Hockey News.

Due to the drop in income, players ended up giving back around 19.6% of their salary in 2019-20. That’s about double what they repaid in escrow in 2018-19, or 9.65%. (The lowest receiver paid by players since the system began was in 2017-18, when they returned 8% of their owed wages.)

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The NHL and NHLPA agreed in the summer of 2020, as part of negotiations to renew the collective bargaining agreement, to a defined escrow system for the remainder of the agreement.

In 2020-21, which had a delayed start, a condensed schedule and a long streak of games without fans in buildings, the escrow rate was set at 20%.

Last season they agreed it would be between 14 and 18 per cent – ​​it turned out to be 17.1 per cent after all, falling to 10 per cent this season and then for the final three years of the deal in 2023 -24. , 2024-25 and 2025-26, the escrow would only be 6%.

The cap would also be calculated based on league revenue growth – the stronger the revenue, the better the chance of the cap increasing in the final years of the deal.

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For the upcoming season, the cap is set at $82.5 million, up $1 million from last season, the first time since before the 2019-20 season that the cap has increased.

The league and players’ association have agreed to keep the the cap sets at $81.5 million until league revenue exceeds $3.3 billion for the previous season.

The estimated escrow debt owed by the players, created by these COVID-induced shortfalls, was approximately $1 billion according to ESPN.

Daly’s confidence suggests the league and players’ association believe the debt will be paid off within the next two seasons.

Daly also appears to confirm that league revenue will reach $4.8 million, as the league’s agreement with the players provides for a transition to a formula-based cap growth calculation once revenue reaches that level.

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