From Spector at Fox Sports:
Spector is right. I too noted that league revenues should continue to rise in the next few years. There are too many quick fixes for league revenues to take a dive, most notably expansion. Expansion will be kept in Gary Bettman's pocket for a rainy day... or shall I say when league revenues aren't projected to increase in an upcoming year.
Better get used to more surprises over the remainder of the collective bargaining agreement.
First, save yourself the shock of seeing the cap rise every year and just expect it to happen. It might not increase as much as it did this summer, when the NHLPA exercised its right under the CBA to boost the cap by five percent, but it will likely keep rising by various degrees over the remainder of the deal.
Canadian Press hockey columnist Pierre Lebrun recently said a team executive predicted the cap could rise to $62 million within the next four years. That might seem an unapproachable figure, but then again, few expected the cap to hit $50 million only two years into the current CBA.
League revenues could reach a point over the next four years where they level out and thus result in only marginal increases, but it seems unlikely the cap will decline in that time.
With a higher cap, of course, comes higher salaries and longer contracts for the players, especially the league's top unrestricted free agents.
Of particlar interest is Spector's mention of how the CBA could hurt small market teams trying to meet the lower limit of the cap, which next year will be $34.3 million next year.
It's even more interesting when you note the $62 million prediction in four years that was mentioned above.
Can you imagine what a base cap of $46 million would do to some small market teams? These are rough numbers of course; but when you consider the cap this past year was $44 million, you can't help but think we'll have some small market teams waiving the white flag in upcoming years.