NHL salary cap set at $82.5 million for next season; first increase in three years

The NHL and NHL Players' Association 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 it 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 past three seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on league revenues.

Per the collective bargaining agreement, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to keep the 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 cap could increase by $2 million per season, and transition to a formula-based calculation for establishing the limit for the 2023-24 season and beyond, if hockey-related revenue reaches $4.8 billion. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that the league is still projecting revenue 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 the league is projecting that debt to be paid off in "two, maybe three years." Many have speculated the cap will jump in the 2025-26 season.

According to CapFriendly, 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.