For the casual fan, nothing Earth-shattering was born out of Friday’s NHL Players’ Association meetings. The Stanley Cup Finals went the distance and produced some solid TV ratings; an Arizona bankruptcy judge made sure no franchises are moving cities; in short, the league is doing well.
Perhaps the biggest issue on the plate is that of the impending salary cap ceiling. It was set at $56.7 million last season and could go up or down, depending on some complicated factors. “It was talked about from a lot of different angles,” Pronger said.
The salary cap (could go) down 5% if the NHL Players Association and the NHL agree not to invoke a 5% growth factor cause. Essentially, 5% is usually added to the cap unless both sides agree not to implement it. The only reason why the NHLPA would consider not using the clause would be to reduce the amount of escrow money that players would have to pay next season.
As a result of the cap, players with long-term contracts might have to pay back more of the escrow if the “growth factor clause” is adopted. Pronger said that an estimated 250 players would be affected by this clause. He doesn’t know which way the Players’ Association will lean when votes are tallied Saturday.