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Bettman: Salary cap could rise $3 million in 2016-17

by Dan Rosen

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The NHL's salary cap for the 2016-17 season could go up approximately $3 million, Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the Board of Governors meeting on Monday.

The salary cap for the 2015-16 season is $71.4 million. It increased $2.4 million from 2014-15 to 2015-16.

"We gave them a very, very, very rough projection on what the cap could conceivably be next season, which will be somewhere between where it is now and up $3 million, in that range," Commissioner Bettman said. "That will depend on a variety of factors."

Among the factors that could come into play are the accuracy of the preliminary reports, the value of the Canadian dollar and the possibility of the NHL Players' Association initiating its five percent escalator to further raise the cap.

"When I give a number, they're all soft at this time of the year so I don't want to pinpoint any number," Commissioner Bettman said.

"It's only December. We still have a lot more of the season to play and a lot more revenues to collect, but it will be somewhere around between where it is and another $3 million, plus or minus a little."

The prediction of an increase in the salary cap suggests the League's revenues are in good shape Commissioner Bettman said. In the current collective bargaining agreement, the cap figure is directly tied to hockey-related revenue.

"[The increase] is not set in stone or concrete so you have to tread carefully," New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "Again, it's good news for the League when it goes up, good news for the players."

The Board also heard a report on the ongoing planning for the League's centennial year, which will be celebrated throughout 2017.

Steve Mayer, the NHL's new executive vice president and executive producer for programming and creative development, will figure heavily in the planning for the celebration. He met the Board for the first time Monday

Mayer spent 20 years at IMG, most recently as the executive producer and senior vice president.

"One of his first and most important responsibilities will be coordinating the many, many, myriad of things that we intend to do with the Centennial," Commissioner Bettman said. "We don't intend to announce those yet, waiting until we get closer."

In addition, Commissioner Bettman said he is not searching for a new chief operating officer to replace John Collins, who left the League this week. He served as the League's COO since 2008.

"All of John's direct reports, including Steve now, seven of them, are now reporting to me," Commissioner Bettman said. "I reported to the Board that we are grateful for the service that John gave us. He was extraordinarily creative and gave us a great deal of energy, but we have tremendous people in our organization, especially including the people that were his direct reports. I know they're all feeling energized, as am I.

"I'm going to spend some time working directly with the seven, and then we'll decide whether or not we want to bring somebody in to give us some bench strength in a particular area, whether or not I'm going to do some internal reorganization. I'm not necessarily looking for a new COO."

The Board of Governors will wrap up its two days of meetings here Tuesday, discussing the League's current compensation policy for executives and coaches signed away from another team. There is potential that the policy could be modified or eliminated.


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