Commissioner Gary Bettman Says NHL Having One of its Best Seasons Ever

Before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, which saw the Florida Panthers defeat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-0, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held his State of the Union and outlined how the League is in great shape with the salary cap to increase to $88 million.

“It’s great to see,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “I know the general managers and the teams are excited to have more flexibility, which means that the revenues are as robust as we’ve been telling you all along.”

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As we know, the salary cap has been fixed at $81.5 million because of COVID-19 and jumped to $83.5 million for this past season. The cap was originally supposed to go up to $87.5 million for the 2024-25 season, but with the NHL’s finances in good shape, they could push it to $88 million.

A $4.5 million increase from $83.5 million is good for the NHL as they have not seen an increase like this since 2017-18 to 2018-19, when the cap jumped from $75 million to $79.5 million.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman believes the cap could go higher in future seasons.

“I predict that it will continue to go up,” the Commissioner said Saturday. “Obviously, with the number of years we had with flat or modest increase, it was necessary to recapture how much was overpaid and how much the escrow built up during COVID, but I believe we’re going to continue to see robust growth in the cap.”

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But, that was not the only good news from the Commissioner’s State of the Union address, which also included Deputy Commissioner Billy Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Marty Walsh.

Commissioner Bettman stated that, along with the league’s financial success, the NHL was having one of its best seasons in history.

“We have seen record attendance for our regular season, and viewership is up 14% in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the highest it’s been in years,” Bettman said. “This has been one of the best seasons and playoffs in NHL history.” 

It will only get better next season, as fans are excited to see what the new Utah team will do on the ice and what the jerseys will look like at the NHL Draft.

While the NHL can improve its scheduling and playoff format, you can’t argue with Commissioner Gary Bettman; the game and the League are in good shape.

The product on the ice is the best it’s ever been. After the slew of changes made during the 2004-05 lockout and a few more later on, the NHL has not had to tweak much lately. That is a good thing. Goal scoring is up in the regular season. That is a plus.

It always quiets down in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that makes for exciting hockey. While the first round might not have been the best, Rounds 2 and 3 were excellent. It’s only Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but this could be a good series between Edmonton and Florida.

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The best news is that Labor Peace seems to be in the air, and the relationship between the NHL and NHLPA is the best it’s ever been. So, it appears the fans don’t have to worry about any lockouts anytime soon.

“It’s very open, candid, good dialogue. I think we have a good relationship. The best it’s been in the history of labour relations between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association. We’re collaborating on lots of important initiatives. I think that bodes well for the future growth of the game and the league.”

However you want to slice it, regardless of your opinion of him, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has made the NHL profitable, and it is the best it’s ever been.