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Gary Bettman expects salary cap to rise for 2018-19 season

MANAPALAN, Fla. -- Gary Bettman projects the salary cap will be between $78 million and $82 million in 2018-19 -- an increase from the current salary cap of $75 million.

"The league has never been healthier," the commissioner said at the NHL's board of governors meetings.

The salary cap will be set in June after review from the NHL Players' Association. Should the cap reach $80 million, it would be the largest jump since the cap swelled from $64.3 million in 2013-14 to $69 million in 2014-15.

"My preference is to keep the cap as low as possible," Bettman said. "Because then the escrow is low."

Bettman projected the revenue for the current season to be $4.85 billion. That continues a steady growth for the league under Bettman's tenure; the league's revenues were $400 million when he took office in 1993.

The 2017-18 season welcomed the NHL's 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, at a $500 million expansion fee. On Thursday, Bettman announced Seattle is invited to apply for NHL expansion. Seattle's fee to enter the league is $650 million.