The general managers of the NHL wrapped up their meeting in Boca Raton, Florida with plenty of topics discussed but nothing finalized, for now. Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray had a few interesting soundbites, getting quoted on a few things.
Nice to see Tim Murray so chatty at the GM meetings in Florida. Good stuff always.— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) March 9, 2017
We start with a topic that is always near and dear to the large majority of the NHL teams that spend almost all the way to the ceiling.
Salary Cap -
Bill Daly says the NHL's salary cap is projected to be $75.5M-$76M next season, but adds it will depend on inflator negotiations with NHLPA.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 8, 2017
The inflator mentioned here is described further by deputy commissioner Bill Daly -
“If you put a five per cent inflator and what revenues are, it will probably go up $2.5 or $3 million bucks.”
This is nowhere near settled as part of the collective bargaining agreement lets the NHL Players’ Association invoke this five per cent inflator each season. Every year but one in the last decade the NHLPA has chosen this option, but concerns about escrow increasing rapidly may prevent it this year, with talks set for June.
Gary Bettman insisted that the NHL was out of the 2018 Olympics, with 2022 still a possibility.
However, lawyer Allan Walsh who represents the NHLPA disagreed with the commish.
The issue as always is money. Previously, the IOC has paid for travel and insurance costs while the NHL shut down its season for over two weeks - but with the IOC no longer wanting to stump up that cash, the NHL wants out now. The players of course understand national pride and still want to be involved.
More to come on this.
The Swedes sent a contingent of four members to plead with the NHL to keep their prospects in the SHL in Sweden until they were ready to play in the NHL, and not to send those prospects to the AHL where their development could be stunted.
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray insisted he wanted his prospects at the Rochester Amerks -
Sabres GM Tim Murray on the AHL in the context of the Swedish presentation today: "We consider the AHL the best development league "— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 8, 2017
Bye Weeks -
Teams going 10-16-4 this season after their respective bye weeks definitely played a part in this, but per an agreement set ahead of this current season, next year’s bye week will be very different - 15 teams take their break in January, with the other 16 teams the next week.
Here’s GMTM again -
“There was lots of talk about scrapping it altogether.”
Bettman chimed in as well -
“We don't think it worked well. If this doesn’t work any better and we still get the negative feedback that we got then I think we’re going to have to consider getting rid of it.”
Rule Changes -
Two new recommendations from the general managers have been forwarded to the competition committee for changes in 2017-18.
- Moving a faceoff to the neutral zone following a high-stick in the offensive end on a power play.
- Coaches lose the ability to call a timeout and rest players following an icing.
The AHL has implemented the second rule this season.
Expansion Draft -
Another interesting topic discussed is the upcoming Expansion Draft, with the GMs clearly stating that they wanted to keep the process of submitting their lists of protected players private and away from the eyes of the public.
So unless it changes, appears league won't make public each team's protected list in June.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 8, 2017
Is anyone really surprised that the list they have to submit to the NHL by 5 p.m. ET on June 17 will not be made public?
What we do know though is that the 30 players chosen by Vegas on June 21 will be announced in a ceremony running during the the NHL Awards.