Vancouver, BC, Canada; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks before the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena.

Bettman: NHL to be "flat cap or near flat cap for the immediate future"

Gary Bettman made it clear on Wednesday that the league will be focused on a flat cap or a near flat cap for the immediate future.

“As part of that the salary cap is basically going to be flat until we recover the overpayments through the escrow that we have build up in both the Return to Play and this season where obviously there is a major escrow building up because of the fact that there’s no attendance and attendance directly and indirectly accounts for roughly half our revenues,” said Bettman during the press conference via Zoom.

On July 10, 2020, the NHL announced a four-year extension of the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2025-26 season. 

Other highlights of the agreement include: 

  • The NHL salary cap will remain at $81.5 million for the 2020-21 season with provisions for it to increase incrementally in the following seasons if hockey-related revenue reaches certain thresholds.
  • Escrow (the percentage withheld from player salaries and placed in an account used to calculate a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue) will be capped at 20 percent for the 2020-21 season, 14-18 percent in 2021-22, 10 percent in 2022-23, and 6 percent in 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26.
  • A year will automatically be added to the CBA, through the 2026-27 season and expiring Sept. 16, 2027, if after the 2024-25 season the players' escrow debt exceeds $125 million but is less than $250 million.
  • NHL players will return to Olympic competition at the 2022 Beijing Games and the 2026 Milano Cortina Games, pending agreements being reached with the International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee. NHL players did not participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics after competing in the Winter Games in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
  • Players will defer 10 percent of their salaries for the 2020-21 season that will be paid out in equal installments over three seasons beginning in 2022-23.
  • The playoff bonus pool will double this season from $16 million to $32 million. The compensation to each player will increase each round.
  • The NHL minimum salary will increase from $700,000 to $750,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and $775,000 in 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26.
  • The maximum entry-level salary will increase from $925,000 for 2019, 2020 and 2021 NHL Draft picks to $950,000 for 2022 and 2023 NHL Draft picks, $975,000 for 2024 and 2025 NHL Draft picks, and $1 million for 2026 NHL Draft picks.

Ron Hainsey, Connor McDavid, Mark Scheifele, John Tavares and James van Riemsdyk were the players on the Return to Play Committee.

The extension will expire on Sept. 15, 2026.

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