The NHL and NHLPA officially announced that the salary cap upper limit for the 2022-23 season is set at $82.5 million, the first time in three years that the cap is increasing.
That’s an increase of $1 million over the 2021-22 season. The salary cap floor for next season will be set at $61 million.
The cap was stagnant for the last three seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on league revenues.
Per the collective bargaining agreement, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association agreed to keep the salary cap flat at $81.5 million until hockey-related revenue surpassed $3.3 billion for the previous season. The NHL’s general managers were informed in March that the cap would only rise by $1 million in 2022-23.
The salary cap could increase by $2 million per season, and transition to a formula-based calculation for establishing the cap for the 2023-24 season and beyond, if hockey-related revenue reaches $4.8 billion. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Wednesday that the league is still projecting revenues for this year but that “things are very strong and very solid.”
The NHL salary cap won’t increase significantly until an estimated $1 billion in debt held by the players is repaid to the owners. Bettman said that the league is projecting that debt to be paid off in “two, maybe three years.” Many have speculated the cap would jump in the 2025-26 season.
According to Cap Friendly, two teams have payrolls that already have them over the $82.5 million salary cap for next season: The Vegas Golden Knights, with a projected cap hit of $85,157,143; and the Tampa Bay Lightning, with a projected cap hit of $84,483,333.
Meanwhile, 12 teams will be under the salary cap floor when free agency begins, with the Anaheim Ducks having the largest gap at $43,076,667 against the cap.