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Volume 25 No. 194
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NHL Salary Cap Could Drop Below $70M If Players Do Not Vote To Exercise Escalator

There is a chance the NHL salary cap could drop below $70M if the players "don't vote to increase (it) by 5%" through an escalator clause when the NHLPA meets later this year, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. While nothing has been decided, that is "what they’ve been told” ("HNIC," Sportsnet, 6/4). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Jared Clinton noted that would be a drop of at least $1.5M from the current cap of $71.4M. It "seems rather unlikely the NHLPA would choose to vote against using the growth factor." The players only once -- prior to the '06-07 season -- have voted "against raising the cap" since its inception. If the escalator is used "on a salary cap that dips below $70 million, the cap will not exceed $73.5 million next season." That would "pose a serious problem for a few clubs" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 6/5). In N.Y., Larry Brooks noted exercising the escalator "will increase escrow to a degree -- players probably will wind up forfeiting around 16 percent of their pay when this past season's numbers are reconciled." However, a higher salary cap "allows for more available money to sign players on expiring contracts and offers more choices for unrestricted free agents and more protection against the cap-necessitated buyouts and waivers" (N.Y. POST, 6/5).