Well, it looks like the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t going to have to do much worrying about whether or not they’ll be able to afford new contracts for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
That’s because NHL revenues have reportedly hit $3.7 billion during the 2013-14 season, according to Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal. Botta also has some insight into what that figure will translate to next season when the new Canadian television deal the league signed with Rogers kicks in:
Source: NHL natl revenue approx. $3.7 billion this season. With new CAN TV deal, will be well over $4B next season. More in SBJ.
— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) June 9, 2014
James Mirtle of the Toronto Globe & Mail, who has been doing some excellent reporting on the salary cap implications that increased revenue will have for the league, had this to say about what the cap situation will look like if league revenues exceed $4 billion next season:
NHL's cap could well rise $6-million+ both this summer and next, hitting $76-million by 2015-16. Floor would be about $20-mil less.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 9, 2014
If the salary cap is $76 million going into the 2015-16 season, the first year of contract extensions for Kane and Toews, then the Blackhawks are going to be sitting pretty. That is a nearly $12 million increase over this year’s salary cap, and even if both players end up making $10 million per season, then that increase in salary cap alone would be enough to cover the $7.4 million increase in salary for the two players over their current deals, which pay them $6.3 million.
GM Stan Bowman is already a certified salary cap wizard, dishing out contracts and trading away high salaries at various times throughout his career with the team. The Brent Seabrook deal, which pays the defenseman just under $6 million a season, is now considered a bargain by most commentators and pundits, and yet at the time it was considered an egregiously large sum of money. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s contract, which will kick in next season, is an even bigger bargain at just under $5.5 million per season.
Kane and Toews are going to get substantial raises, and they absolutely should, but with league revenues exploding and the salary cap going up in each of the next few seasons, the extra money is going to be a much easier pill to swallow than it would have been if the duo had been up for extensions just after the new CBA was agreed to last January.