How high can it go?
Indeed, one PA official told Slap Shots on Friday that Gary Bettman's recent proclamation that 2006-07 revenues would be close to $2.4 billion "is disconnected" from 2007-08 cap reality. Fact is, even if the PA does, as expected, assert its right to build a 5-percent bump into next year's cap (according to a union source, the 5-percent bump is a default number unless waived by both parties) it now appears that next year's upper limit will be no higher than $48.5 million.
A $52 million cap would've provided teams an extra $8 million in cap space, significantly more than last season's $44 million, and giving those currently with limited cap space the opportunity to bid competitively for some of the league's top free agents. ... However, a $48.5 million cap substantially restricts that space, thus teams with payrolls presently over $35 million for next season with roughly half a roster to sign won't be bidding for this summer's marquee free agents.And around and around we go.
I'm dizzy. A bit of nausea. Call it salary-cap sickness.
In any event, colour me unsurprised that Bettman's revenue figure was pulled from the ether and that it has absolutely no affect on what sort of cap number we'll see next season. Why would it?
The curious thing about all of this is that, presumably, the league's GMs are as clueless as the rest of us as to how big the honey pot is next season and don't know, precisely, how much they have to spend.
Great system, Gary.
Not that planning and rational thought has been a big part of cap budgeting in the past, not when it's come to NHL GMs. Even still, all of this mess had better be sorted out well before July 1 so that teams stepping up to the UFA trough (or, from the sounds of it, the RFA one) know how much is left in the kitty to blow on a six-year, kagillion dollar deal on Craig Rivet.
Or maybe it's better if they're betting blind.