The NHL salary cap will rise significantly adding to an already exciting offseason

The NHL salary cap is set to increase significantly, promising an even more intriguing offseason.
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The NHL salary cap will rise significantly, which adds to what is expected to be an already interesting offseason for the Detroit Red Wings.

It doesn't come as a complete shock to hear that the NHL salary cap will be increasing, but the league and Players Association announced on Saturday that the cap will increase to $88 million next season, up from $83.5 this past year. The $4.5 million increase is the first significant increase since 2018-19 when it also increased $4.5 million to $79.5.

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

This past December, the league projected the cap to increase next season to $87.7 million so the added funds will come as a welcomed sight to many clubs. The floor will be $65 million, per the collective bargaining agreement.

Bettman also predicts that the team salary cap is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. “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 increases 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.”

The NHL salary cap increase adds flexibility to the Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to have a very vibrant offseason, with general manager Steve Yzerman having to extend budding stars Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond long-term. Following that, Yzerman will have decisions to make on a group of important pending free-agent veteran players such as Patrick Kane, David Perron, and Shayne Gostisbehere. With funds at a premium and the Detroit Red Wings, in Yzerman's words, 'quickly becoming a cap team,' meaning after a couple of these lucrative extensions are completed, Detroit will need to navigate the remaining available funds cautiously and sleekly.

The added $4.5 million should give the Detroit Red Wings enough flexibility to extend star winger Patrick Kane, along with David Perron. Kane is coming off a fantastic first year with the Red Wings, where he posted a near-point-per-game pace following a complicated hip resurfacing surgery a year ago. The crafty winger led the Red Wings with seven game-winning goals and totaled 20 overall and 47 points over 50 games. Also, it's noteworthy to mention that amid all of the offseason speculation of Kane perhaps returning to Chicago, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson recently mentioned that he doesn't anticipate a reunion of such this summer.

At first, I thought the Detroit Red Wings would only be able to sign one of Perron or Kane, but with the salary increase, both returning seems very possible. Detroit is expected to have just over $29 million to spend heading into the offseason. Raymond and Seider are anticipated to account for somewhere between $16 and $18 million, leaving Detroit with roughly $13 million available. Kane is expected to fall somewhere between $4 and $5 million annually, likely on a two-year deal, and Perron's number is likely to be in the $3.5-$4 million neighborhood. That could leave the Red Wings with roughly $5 million or so remaining to fill out the rest of their roster.

The Detroit Red Wings could save money by replacing pending free-agent forwards such as Joe Veleno, Christian Fischer, and Daniel Sprong with players in their pipeline like Jonatan Berggren, Marco Kasper, Nate Danielson, and Carter Mazur.

On the backend, I could see a scenario where if the Red Wings fail to come to terms with Perron or Kane, Gostisbehere will quickly find himself back in the mix to rejoin the club. If Gostisbehere doesn't become an option, not only will he be replaced by Simon Edvinsson, but a player like Albert Johansson will no longer be waiver-exempt and will see every opportunity to make the club this summer.