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Cap Relief Possibly Coming Sooner Than Expected

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

One of the unfortunate realities of the NHL landscape we currently live in is that the salary cap plays an important role in every hockey decision made by every team. That ramps up significantly when a team is try to contend, as the Golden Knights have been for the past five seasons and into their sixth.

Due to the pandemic, the salary cap has stayed stagnant for a few years now and is expected to do so for the next few to come. So, when a team pushes up close to the cap, it turns into a Newton’s Law type situation for them. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The Golden Knights want to add Alex Pietrangelo, they need to subtract Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny.  They want to add Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov must go. Truthfully, it’s not that simple, but until the cap rises dramatically from one year to the next, it’s an easy way to view things that isn’t all that far off from reality.

Luckily, the dramatic rise in the salary cap may be coming a bit sooner than previously expected when the league came back from the pandemic in late 2020.

I’ve seen some preliminary estimates recently which would make me more optimistic on the cap going up sooner whether that’s in two seasons or three seasons, I think it’s more likely than not two seasons rather than three. –Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner on 32 Thoughts Podcast

This is huge news for the Golden Knights because when the cap does inevitably go up, it’s expected to push into the ninth digit. Yeah, Bill Daly, the NHL’s 2nd in command, is optimistic the $82.5 million salary cap will rise to close to or even exceed $100 million by mid-2024.

The Golden Knights have 13 players under contract for the 2024-25 season. They make a total of $68 million. These players are the big three, Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, and Alex Pietrangelo, as well as William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Nic Roy, Keegan Kolesar, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Zach Whitecloud, Robin Lehner, Logan Thompson, and Shea Weber.

Of course, Weber’s salary will be buried in LTIR, meaning the Golden Knights will have a 12-man roster worth about $60 million, leaving them with nearly 40% of the salary cap to fill out the remaining eight to 11 spots. To contrast, the combination of just the six of Eichel, Stone, Pietrangelo, Karlsson, Theodore, and Alec Martinez currently takes up about 52% of the cap this season.

Vegas will have decisions to make on players like Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, William Carrier, Brett Howden, and Martinez between now and then, but the added cap space should alleviate a lot of the struggle they’ve been dealing with these past few seasons.

The sooner the cap goes up, the easier life will become on the Golden Knights. As long as the league’s revenues continue trending in the same direction, it appears that may come for the 24-25 season as opposed to the expected 25-26 year.

Clearing Up The Exact Expansion Draft Timeline

When it comes to the NHL and Expansion, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the target is always moving. In the league’s “State of the NHL” address yesterday Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly attempted to clear up the exact timeline, or “window” as they like to call it, of the NHL’s Expansion Draft.

But before we get into what he said, and now believe is accurate, let’s go back to around this time last year when the NHL released the rules of the Expansion Draft the same day the Golden Knights were awarded to Vegas.

The 30 NHL Clubs must submit their Protection List by 5:00 P.M. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The Las Vegas team must submit their Expansion Draft Selections by 5:00 P.M. ET on June 20 and the announcement of their selections will be released on made on June 21. -NHL.com (posted June 22, 2016)

That timeline is still on NHL.com right now but Daly had a different idea during the press conference yesterday.

We’ve reached an agreement with the Player’s Association to broaden the window in which the Expansion Draft will take place. They will get the available and protected lists on 10 AM EST Sunday the 18th of June and they’ll have til Wednesday morning until 10 AM EST to submit those. -Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner

The original rules called for 5 PM on Saturday to 5 PM on Tuesday. That’s 72 hours. Now, it’s 10 AM Sunday to 10 AM Wednesday, also 72 hours.

We are very pleased that Gary Bettman and Bill Daly granted our request for an additional 24 hours. The process will be much more manageable as a result. -George McPhee to LVRJ (yesterday)

So they have a 72 hour window instead of a 48 hour window. -Daly (yesterday)

Somewhere along the lines McPhee and the Golden Knights lost 24 hours, but now they got it back. Phew.

It is possible not everyone is on the same page here because there’s another “window” that was apparently up in the air. That’s the UFA/RFA window in which the Golden Knights have exclusive rights to sign free agent players. (Not sure what I’m talking about, read this, then this, then this, then come back)

So, it’s official for now the Golden Knights have 72 hours to make their selections, and the exact same 72 hours to negotiate and sign free agents. That period begins at 7 AM Vegas time on Sunday June 18th, and ends at 7 AM Vegas time on Wednesday June 21st. Then we’ll all be jammed into T-Mobile Arena starting at 5 PM Vegas time to hear the picks.

Got it?

Just make sure you visit SinBin.vegas every single day between now and then, cause the way it’s gone, it could change again any minute.

No One But McPhee May Be Able To See Protection Lists, Even Other GMs

This strange saga keeps getting stranger. We’ve long expected the NHL Expansion Draft protections lists to be made public the day the Golden Knights 72 hour draft period begins allowing speculation to dominate the world of sports talk. Then recently we found out the NHL may keep the lists private from the media and the pubic in what would be a giant mistake.

Now, it looks like they may even take it one step further. It’s possible no one but the Golden Knights will get to see the full lists.

The managers have expressed a preference for maintaining the confidentiality of that information. We will make a final decision in due time. There is no rush here. -Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner

The issue here, I think, is that some GMs are hesitant to let everyone else in the league see how they are ranking or otherwise valuing their own players. I would argue that they already do show their cards when they reveal how they compensate the players in terms of salary. But I suppose that, if lower-paid players end up getting protected over higher-paid players in some cases, teams might not want that kind of naked truth being blatantly blasted out there for posterity. –Pierre LeBrun, ESPN

Before you go nuts about how ridiculous this is, let me take a moment to explain why this is the only way as a Golden Knights fan you should be okay with them not making the lists available to the public.

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What We Learned From Yesterday’s Presser

Surprisingly a lot more came out of Gary Bettman and Bill Daly’s “State of the NHL” press conference in Pittsburgh than we expected. Of course, they did not give us the good news we’ve been waiting for, but they were much more forthcoming on the remaining timeline than they’ve ever been before.

Here’s the new timeline. The NHL’s Executive Committee will meet “a week or so” in advance of the full Board of Governors meeting on June 22nd. We’ve been told through the grapevine that June 7th will be the date of the Executive Committee meeting, but that’s yet to be confirmed. The full Board of Governors will meet on the morning of June 22nd in Las Vegas, and then an announcement will follow, most likely at the Hard Rock Hotel at the NHL Awards.

But that was just the beginning of what the commish and vice-commish had to say.

The most telling quote from the entire press conference for me was about the NFL.

Our own belief is if the NFL comes to Las Vegas at some point, so be it. -Gary Bettman

Not only did he once again say that the NFL has no bearing on the NHL’s decision, but the way it was said pretty clearly indicates the NHL is already in bed with Las Vegas. If the league wasn’t planning to expand to Vegas, why would he even care what the NFL’s plans are?

The next comment, which came after the official press conference was about the NHL Entry Draft and an expansion team’s role in it. I have always guessed the league would hold the lottery for the top three picks and then slot the new team(s) in at 4th. Well, that’s not going to be the case as Bill Daly told reporters any expansion teams would be placed in the lottery. Therefore, when the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago takes place, Las Vegas could be first to the podium, something I never expected to be a reality. Still have to win a lottery, but at least there’s a chance.

Finally, a lot has been made of the commissioner’s “three possible outcomes” comment. Those being, no expansion, deferred expansion, or expansion of one or two teams. It is the first time we’ve heard the NHL use the term deferred or defer in regards to the process, however those have been the possible outcomes all along. Nothing has changed other than them introducing a new word.

I believe the word deferred is being used as a way for the NHL to let Quebec City down softly. Rather than expanding to Las Vegas while killing off the possibility of Quebec City, they’ll use the word deferred to keep from creating riots in Canada.

All in all, the press conference brought nothing but positive news for Vegas. Las Vegas is getting a team, and they’ll be on the ice in 2017-18. Believe me.

 

Commissioner Bettman Nails Down June 22 For Expansion Announcement

Gary Bettman delivered his “State of the NHL” today at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

As expected, the commissioner didn’t have much to say about expansion when asked, but he did at least give us one specific date.

Prior to the Awards event the Board of Governors will meet and I anticipate being able to provide a more definitive word on where the expansion process stands. That word will probably come in one of three following forms. Whether there will be no expansion, whether expansion will be deferred to a later time in the future, or whether there will be expansion and if so whether will be a one team or two teams expansion.

I am not going to handicap what’s going to happen, but again when the board meets in Las Vegas on June 22 I am fairly certain that we will know more than we do today I also anticipate that the executive committee will be making a recommendation to the board in advance of that meeting. -Gary Bettman

On when the Executive Committee may make official recommendation…

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NFL Has “No Impact Whatsoever” On NHL’s Decision

The Raiders to Las Vegas garbage doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. The Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee met again yesterday to discuss the (now) $1.6  billion domed stadium.

I’ve voiced my concern on how a second team in Las Vegas could impact the first coming in, but I’d never go so far as to say the NFL relocation rumors to Las Vegas should be of any concern to the NHL. Well, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly appears to agree.

When asked whether the possibility of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas would impact the NHL’s plans one way or the other, deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded to thn.com by email, “No impact whatsoever. Doesn’t even enter the equation.” When asked whether the possibility of having another league in Las Vegas might cause the owners to reconsider Las Vegas, he said, “Doubtful.” -Ken Campbell, TheHockeyNews.com

The NHL’s been exploring Vegas for a lot longer than these Raiders rumors have been around, and they are certainly not going to let the NFL rob them of the $500 million The Creator is ready to fork over.

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Bettman’s Next State Of The NHL Presser Scheduled For Monday

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will address the media in a “State of the NHL” press conference an hour before the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. He’ll be in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or San Jose at the rink to do the presser.

We do NOT expect there to be an official expansion announcement at this press conference. The guys at HockeyBuzz.com seem to disagree.

The timing wouldn’t make a lot of sense as an announcement would take away from the Cup Finals, which is the last thing the commissioner and the league would like to happen.

However, any time the commissioner speaks to the media, the question of expansion always comes up. Therefore, we’ll certainly have a quote or two that should help to key us in on when the official announcement may come.

The NHL Awards Show is scheduled in Las Vegas on June 22nd, and the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo two days later on the 24th. Both the commissioner and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have referenced the Entry Draft as a date in which GM’s must know prior to, if the league is going to expand for 2017-18.

Bettman’s press conference will be televised live on SportsNet TV in Canada. As for us here in the States, no network has confirmed to be airing the presser live. We’ll keep digging and will update this post with the best way to watch Gary Bettman’s press conference when we have it.

SportsNet.ca is streaming it live. Here’s the link.

 

 

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