NHL salary cap rises to $79.5M, up $4.5M for 2018-19

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The NHL and NHLPA announced Thursday that the salary cap ceiling for the 2018-19 season will increase to $79.5 million, a $4.5 million jump from last season, and the floor is set at $58.8 million.

Sportsnet notes that the rise of $4.5 million is the largest increase since ahead of the 2013-14 season, when the cap changed from $64.3 million to $69 million. A year ago, the cap went up only $2 million.

“We’re having healthy growth,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “A large part of our thinking is we want a [salary cap] number that keeps the escrow down.

“We think by only having a more modest increase last season it was instrumental in keeping the escrow down to what we project will be about 8 percent, which will have been the lowest in years. The amount of the escrow is simply a function of how high the cap is. Higher the cap, higher the escrow. There is no magic to that.”

The announcement comes at a good time as teams are preparing for the NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday. The increase will give teams more room to maneuver on re-signing players or trading them.