The impact of COVID-19 on the sports world has been talked about to the point of exhaustion. The greatest impact will probably be on each league’s salary cap. But it seems that the NHL may be better off in this regard compared to what is expected for the other major sports leagues in America.
The NHL salary cap could remain stagnant over the next few seasons. The league and NHLPA are working towards a new CBA, which is scheduled to expire this September. While you would expect the cap to drop dramatically, it appears the two sides are comfortable keeping changes to the minimum.
As part of the potential agreement, the salary cap will most likely remain close to the current $81.5 Million limit. To mitigate negative financial impact on the owners there will probably not be any growth for the next three seasons. There is a chance for it to go up eventually, but overall growth will be slow for the foreseeable future.
There will be a vote on the topic, where over 700 players in the league will either accept or decline the proposition. They should, and most likely, will accept this option. This is because the other options will most likely result in losing a significant chunk of their salaries.
Other Salary Cap Options
Other major issues in discussion includes an escrow cap and salary deferrals. The potential agreement that was seemingly settled on between the two sides caps has the escrow at 20% for the 2020-21 campaign. The original estimates had escrow at 35% if this season was not finished, and roughly 27.5% if it was.
This is to ensure that the franchises and players split all hockey-related revenue, with the NHL and NHLPA retaining a percentage of players' salary during the season. The salary deferral could involved 10% for every player for one year. While that by itself is not popular, the league hopes to even things by returning the money in the future and lowering the escrow on it.
Negotiations for the new CBA appear linked to the return-to-play talks. The greatest evidence in support of this is from Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin. Panarin said the players cannot report to training camp in mid-July until an agreement is in place. Many aren't happy with the options, while others aren't comfortable voting at all due to the uncertainty. But there is hope for a deal soon, which is a breath of fresh air for fans.