PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The salary cap for the 2014-15 season is projected to be approximately $71 million, a growth of more than 10 percent, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the League's Board of Governors meeting on Monday.
The salary cap for this season is $64.3 million after growing to $70.2 million during the 2012-13 season.
In addition, the Board ratified the League's 12-year, $5.2 billion Canadian national television and multimedia rights agreement with Rogers Communications during the first session of the two-day meeting. The agreement with Rogers, the largest media-rights deal in League history, begins next season and money from that deal impacts the League's projection for next season's salary cap.
The meetings conclude Tuesday afternoon.
"We're looking at a cap in the $71 million range as an estimate," Commissioner Bettman said. "It's subject to change. It's very preliminary."
The salary cap is tied to the League's revenues, which the League expects to exceed $3.3 billion this season. By the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the salary cap is determined from in hockey-related revenue, which the League splits evenly with the players.
The salary cap is determined from a midpoint number that is calculated by multiplying the total hockey-related revenue by 50 percent (the players' share of hockey-related revenue) and then dividing the resulting number by 30. The cap is 15 percent above the midpoint and the lower limit is 15 percent below the midpoint. All teams must spend to at least the lower point of the cap.
The lower limit for next season is expected to be approximately $52 million.
"I said to the Board there shouldn't be any issue or consternation, if [$71 million] is the cap level it's because revenues have gone up, and that's a good thing," Commissioner Bettman said. "When the cap goes up, revenue sharing goes up, and the system works the way it's supposed to."
General managers were not shocked that the cap is expected to rise approximately 12 percent for next season.
"We know that we're going to have solid stability for the next eight and hopefully for more years and it gives both sides, both our side and the [National Hockey League Players' Association] side, a great opportunity to make the game stronger than ever," Nashville Predators GM David Poile said. "Just talking on our side in terms of the ideas [The League has] and projects that [it's] working on, the game is certainly headed in a direction that gives us every chance to grow the business in so many different ways."
Managers of teams that historically spend to the cap particularly appreciate the opportunity for greater spending flexibility for next season.
"It's always nice to have more money," Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis said. "It doesn't matter what you are, it's nice to have more money. It gives us more flexibility to try to continue to compete for a Stanley Cup, and that's always our objective."
Gillis confirmed the Canucks will continue to spend to the cap.
"Whatever the number is we're going to try our best to spend those assets properly and effectively," he said. "We're always going to be a cap team in Vancouver."
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero said the added cap space is important to his team especially because Sidney Crosby's salary-cap charge is $8.7 million and Evgeni Malkin's cap charge will grow to $9.5 million next season. Brooks Orpik and Jussi Jokinen are in the final years of their current contracts.
"We've been very fortunate with our ownership being able to spend the cap the last few years, especially with having two of the higher-priced players in the League," Shero said. "It does give us some breathing room like some other teams; but, most importantly, it's good for the League, good news revenues are going up."
The teams that don't traditionally spend to the cap are pleased to because they will receive extra revenue from the Canadian television deal the NHL has with Rogers, revenue that can in turn be used to bolster their rosters.
"It's everything for us," Calgary Flames president and CEO Ken King said. "We are a small-market team, that is obvious. This deal gives us the opportunity to compete with larger-market teams."
The key with added spending flexibility is not just having the ability to spend, but spending it wisely, said several managers.
"We have to be competitive on the ice," St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. "We have to increase our fan base. We have to increase our corporate fan base. I think if we continue to do that we'll be able to keep pace with the cap.
"I think $71 million is an indication that the NHL is healthy and that's good for everybody."