BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The NHL salary cap for next season is projected to be between $84 million and $88.2 million, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the general managers before they broke after three days of meetings Wednesday.
The salary cap for this season is $81.5 million.
The range in the projection for next season is dependent on the maximum 5 percent inflator the NHL Players' Association could trigger after negotiations with the NHL to increase the cap figure.
The $84 million projection is with a zero percent inflator; the $88.2 million projection would comprise the full 5 percent.
The NHLPA triggered a 1 percent inflator to get the cap to $81.5 million this season.
The salary cap figure is not expected to be finalized until late June.
However, Deputy Commissioner Daly said he told the GMs part of the League's ongoing discussions with the NHLPA toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is to derive a formula that will enable the NHL to furnish GMs a cap figure earlier than they receive it now.
"Typically over the last several years, probably since we initiated the CBA, we haven't been able to give them a cap number until late June, in and around the time of the [NHL] Draft," the Deputy Commissioner said. "Hopefully at some point in the future we'll have a mechinism that allows them to have that information sooner."
The League and GMs have not come up with a specific date or time period that would be ideal to have a final cap figure for the next season.
"Other than [the GMs saying], 'Get it to us as soon as you can possibly get it to us,' we haven't gotten to that degree of specificity," the Deputy Commissioner said.
CBA discussions ongoing
Deputy Commissioner Daly also said the NHL and NHLPA remain in regular discussions about a new CBA, which ideally would include a robust international calendar.
The current CBA is set to expire after the 2021-22 season.
"I've publicly said we have reengaged with the Players' Association after a period of inactivity on the CBA front," the Deputy Commissioner said. "We've had a number of meetings on various issues over the last two weeks. We each have to-do lists in terms of getting back to each other.
"So the process has restarted. It would be too early for me to say whether we're making progress or not making progress, it really has been a catch-up to where we left off and then we'll see where we take it from here."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the League "remains hopeful and energized at the prospect" of having long-term labor peace and a long-term international calendar.
EBUGs will require physicals
Though the NHL will not make any changes to the current procedure for emergency backup goalies, Commissioner Bettman said every EBUG who has his name registered with the League's Central Registry department will require a physical examination prior to the season.
The EBUG procedure came into the spotlight when David Ayres was required to play for the Carolina Hurricanes during a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 22 because of in-game injuries to Hurricanes goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer.
Ayres, a 42-year-old former ice resurfacing machine driver who is manager of operations at Mattamy Athletic Centre, the former Maple Leaf Gardens, is one of 136 registered emergency backup goalies this season.
He played the final 28:41 of the game, made eight saves, and became the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.
"For those of you old enough to remember, it was a real Walter Mitty moment," Commissioner Bettman said, referring to the fictional daydreaming character. "It's sports, I suppose, at its most interesting and its best."