NHL general managers discuss playoff salary cap in meetings: ‘A healthy discussion’

“We’ve had a great season,” Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton said after Tampa eliminated the Hurricanes in the second round. “We lost to a team that is $18 million over the cap.”

Stretching the salary cap through the playoffs was one of the topics discussed by the 32 NHL general managers at annual meetings this week in Florida, but that’s it.

At least for now.

“A lot is made of it,” Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Tuesday. “No one thinks there has been abuse as there is something that needs to change.

“It was a healthy discussion.”

Treliving added that Kucherov’s situation — which included his $9.5 million cap off Tampa’s books during the season, allowing the Lightning to add more talent and then become irrelevant in the playoffs — was the reason for the momentum around the issue ahead of the chief executive’s first in-person meetings since March 2020.

“What we don’t talk about is that Kucherov hasn’t played all year,” he said. “The league will review it.

“If there is a need or a requirement for change, we will talk about it.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the system has worked well since the league’s hard cap was introduced in 2005.

“There was no one in that room who believed that she had been abused,” he said. “It was more about perception.

“But no one was sitting there saying, ‘This is terrible abuse, we have to fix it. “”

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly explained how the league approaches players on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) when their scheduled return date falls near the start of the playoffs to ensure everything is above the board. .

“We deal with the clubs, we get their medical records, we employ an independent medical expert,” he said. “We never had any problems as a result.

“It’s a painstaking process.”

The Vegas Golden Knights have drawn attention this season for their cap gymnastics against the LTIR.

When asked if he was satisfied with the way this franchise handled its business, Bettman chose his words carefully.

“From what I know so far, yes,” he replied.

“I would say the same,” Daly added.

Any changes to the current system would have to be collectively negotiated with the NHL Players Association – something the league doesn’t seem to have an appetite for as things stand.

“In an ideal world, maybe that would be a good change,” Bettman said of the playoff cap. “The roster situation is different in the playoffs.

“It’s not something that’s going to be treated as a priority issue anytime soon.”

CHANGE WITHOUT EXCHANGE

One thing that should be changed quickly is how the NHL treats players and no-trade rosters.

The Golden Knights attempted to deal Evgenii Dadonov to the Ducks before last week’s deadline in a bid to free up space.

The only problem? Anaheim was one of the teams on the winger’s no-trade list.

The embarrassing situation ended after 48 hours when the league rescinded the deal that would also have sent a second-round pick to Anaheim for inactive center Ryan Kesler, who is not expected to return to playing careers, and defenseman John Moore.

The league’s central registry, which handles all trades and initially approved the trade, never received Dadonov’s list.

In fact, the league hasn’t been in possession of this information in the past – it was up to the clubs to release these contract details for players without trade protection – but that should change after the Dadonov saga.

“We have already had discussions with the players’ association,” Daly said. “I don’t foresee it being a problem getting what we need.”

CAP UP

The league has confirmed that its salary cap is expected to increase further from $1 million to $82.5 million next season.

Bettman said the league estimates revenue will be close to its $5 billion business goal in 2021-22 “despite some of the challenges posed by Canadian club attendance restrictions” related to the COVID-19 pandemic. this winter.

WORLD CUP TIME CRUNCH

General managers have been informed of the return of the World Cup of Hockey in 2024, but plans remain preliminary.

“We have to step it up,” Daly said. “We are already a little behind in terms of organizing this event.”

Daly wouldn’t say if the league is considering a tournament in February or September.

A return of the North American young star squad and Team Europe is not part of the current talks, however.

“We’re still in the embryonic stage,” Bettman said.

MELNYK REMEMBERS

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion held back tears as he spoke of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who died Monday at age 62.

“He’s someone who brought stability,” Dorion said. “Without Eugene Melnyk, the Senators wouldn’t be in Ottawa.

Bettman recalled a meeting in his office in 2003 when Melnyk was in the process of buying the team out of bankruptcy.

“It’s very, very sad,” said the commissioner. “He was a highly respected voice in the board room.

“We will miss him.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 29, 2022.

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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press