SEATTLE -- The NHL informed its executives and owners during its board of governors meeting Monday that it is projecting it will raise next year's salary cap to $87.7 million, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.
If those projections hold, it would be an increase of $4.2 million from the current NHL salary cap, which is $83.5 million. It would also be the largest single-year increase for an NHL salary cap since the 2019-20 season. That year saw the cap rise by $4.5 million.
There was already an expectation that the league was going to increase the figure for the 2024-25 season. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who is slated to speak Tuesday, told reporters at the most recent board of governors meeting in October that it was looking like the cap would be "somewhere between the $87-88 million" mark.
Bettman also said at that time that the projected revenue for the NHL was expected to be more than $6 billion while noting the league would be able to supply a fuller picture of those projections during the board of governors meeting in Seattle.
In 2020, the NHL and the NHL Players' Association signed a new collective bargaining agreement that saw them come to terms on the salary cap. They agreed to institute a flat salary cap at $81.5 million until hockey-related revenue surpassed $3.3 billion for the previous season. Since then, the NHL increased its cap by $1 million annually in 2022-23 and in 2023-24.
That flat salary cap was deemed necessary with players owing a little more than $1 billion in debt to the owners because of the COVID-19 revenue losses. Once that debt was paid off, the cap would then move back to a model that would be linked to revenue.
Bettman said during that last board of governors meeting that the remaining debt was around $50 million.