In a general sense, a flat cap indicates flat revenues, although the 5-per-cent inflator we’ve heard so much about lately does tweak those results by about $2-million either way. Commissioner Gary Bettman asked the players to not use the inflator last season, but they disagreed and bumped the cap up to $56.7-million, which resulted in large escrow payments at the end of the year.
This time around, Bettman wanted the inflator used so that the cap would remain relatively the same rather than fall into the $54-million range. The danger there is that, if revenues fall this coming season, as expected, escrow totals would be even higher than this past season and take a big bite out of players’ paychecks.
No wonder we’re hearing about two potential big stadium games.
If I had to guess where the cap’s going in the future, my money would be on it remaining below $60-million for another season or two beyond 2009-10. If escrow continues to rise, the NHLPA will likely back off using the inflator and really tighten team payrolls on the top end.
And, by that point, we’ll be looking at the two sides working on a new CBA. Oh joy.