Why the NHL needs a salary cap.

As 2004 rapidly approaches all of us hardcore hockey fans will keep watching hockey even if there is a work stoppage. Saying that, hockey has had a great year the 2001-2002 campaign is full of great stories: The Carolina Hurricanes, Jose Theodore, Jarome Iginla, Team Canada and the olympics on a whole. Many new fans have been introduced to the game the past season. But a lock-out of the players might be what the league needs to survive.Salaries are out of control, teams are stocking up on talent leaving small market teams unable to compete.

During the 1980’s the playing field was even. Teams drafting actually factured in to the success of the team. Now all you need to do is throw some cash at a free agent. Teams stacking up on talent is not going to allow the younger players on the team develop into marquee players. Would Jarome Iginla of had the opportuinty to break into the league. He was drafted by the dallas system. Dallas came to power in 1997, would he have got even half the playing time he recives in Calgary. I dont think so. Teams stacking talent are forcing players such as Simone Gagne, who is a legitamate first line center but is limited to the second line because of philles stacked line-up. Eric Cole in Carolina for a first year rookie got third line duties and matured quickly because playing time is availible. Is Pavel Datsyuk going to get the time next year to crack the forth line?

My personal opinion is that salaries are out of control. However some dont feel this way. Ok. But the Nhl is not a healthy league. A salary cap is going to force teams to develope talent. Detroit, Phillidelphia, Washington, Colorado, Dallas, are going to be forced in to either moving their star players or removing their future. Limiting player salaries is not the problem, But what owners are willing to pay for players is outrageous, for example look at paul Kariya’s new contract. For 10 million a season, he better get a heck of alot of ice time, and with recent aquasitions, is Andy McDonald going to get the ice time to develope in to a prominent forward.

Teams like Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota, Vancouver, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Boston, better themsleves through trades of their exsisiting talent, drafted talent, to work out. And because no prominent players on the team players like Todd Bertuzzi, Jarom Iginla, Marian Gaborik have chances to become stars. These teams have made excellent trades as well. The Florida/Vancouver deal, wich involved Ed Jovonoski, couldnt have worked out better for Vancouver, but Florida, well, not so much. Another Great trade was Cory Stillman to St, Louis for Craig Conroy, Where in Calgary, Conroy got the ice time and showed that he could produce.

I Belive that capping how much an owner can spend will make the Nhl a more competitive league. Talent will spread out and all 30 teams will be in the hunt for the playoffs. The Nhl does not need a Detroit Lions, in the league. Cap Salaries, Talent will spread out and choose to play where they want to play and where they are needed. And for once I think it would be nice to see a player accept to play in a place he enjoys, rather then the dollar amount.

Thats how I see things.


34 Responses to Why the NHL needs a salary cap.

  1. mebeda says:

    I agree that something needs to be done, but I’m not sure that a salary cap (by itself, anyway) is the answer. One concern that I have is that rather than expend the necessary resources to nurture their own talent or trade for it, too many teams are trying to take the easy way out and sign high-priced free agents. Here are a few points:

    We all know that salaries are going through the roof. Are they ridiculous? Perhaps they are, but maybe they’re not. Tom Hicks isn’t going to pay Bill Guerin $45 million if, in doing so, he thought he was going to lose money. I’m not saying that I want it to happen, but what if Dallas was horrible next year? Would they go out next summer and sign 2 more top-tier free agents? I doubt it. What if they were horrible the following year and ticket sales / revenues drastically declined and Tom Hicks started losing money? Would he then look to unload salaries? What if he couldn’t? What if the worst case scenario came to fruition and the league had to either offer Hicks financial assistance or let the team fold? Perhaps its a stretch, but if it happened, it’s a situation in which no one wins.

    On the other hand, if Tom Hicks can pay Guerin $45 million, why should Guerin have to settle for anything less? Anyone in his shoes would do the exact same thing regardless of the potential consequences to anyone else. Money is a powerful thing!

    Also, whenever a salary cap is mentioned, usually revenue sharing is mentioned shortly thereafter. My opinion: revenue sharing is exactly what the lazy owners want because they operate under the mentality that they need to spend huge sums of money to achieve any sort of success. If its not their money, why not spend someone else’s? Let someone else do the work and let me prosper, its the American way! If owner ‘X’ does a tremendous job of promoting his team and makes millions, shouldn’t he be allowed to profit accordingly? Why should he have to forfeit some of his earnings to bail out owner ‘Y’ (Tom Hicks?) who has either not made the effort to promote his team/hockey or has made some bad business decisions?

    On the other hand, if you’re a player, wouldn’t you tell owner ‘X’ that if it wasn’t for us on the ice, you would have nothing to promote and we deserve our share of your earnings because without us you have nothing! Its a difficult situation and I wish I had answers.

  2. garry1221 says:

    The nhl doesn’t need the lions????……. well i hope not…. they’re a football team, what the heck was that supposed to mean anyway?, as for a salary cap, it might be good, but there’s no saying that the talent would spread, granted the rangers would lose everyone they bought over the last couple seasons, but anyway, …. the big market clubs can’t be soley to blame for the crazy salaries, i mean, when it was learned that hull was looking to come to detroit we had players defer some of their contracts to make room in the budget for him……. hell, he defered his own contract to come here….. i just find it stupid, greedy, and insane how sather could spend all he has to build his ”team”… i never heard once about any of the rangers coming to him to defer some money to get someone, as far as some of the players u mentioned, kariya deserves every bit of the money he’s getting…. he IS the team…. he’s carried that team from its beginning, as for datsyuk, with stevie out he’ll get plenty of time on the ice… and he’s not the 4th line center…..hell… u can’t put a line to anyone we have on the wings… the way scotty used to mix em up there was no saying he’s a first line, he’s a fourth line

  3. garry1221 says:

    almost forgot about the profit sharing thing :S….. profit sharing would do more harm than good in my mind, i mean, the red wings would be keepin half the league alive on the revenues earned by the sale of the jersey and other things…. that’s not cool, if the teams can’t figure out a way to promote themselves without losing money that’s their own publicity deptartment’s problem, not the league’s nor any other team’s,

  4. Habfan1234 says:

    The sale of merchandise in the NHL does get divided by 30. Lets say that the league made 300 mil on merchandise then each team in league would get 10 mil.

  5. cecilturtle says:

    No player under the age of 29 can be a free agent unless in the league for 10 years. So any free agent signed is in the downside of their carrer – PAST THEIR PRIME.

    With a cap… You MUST take into account that markets such as New York have a much higher standard of living. For example a $500,000 house in Metro NY & NJ would sell for $150,000 in most other states. With a cap in the NHL… larger Market / More expensive market teams would be at a much greater disadvantage and could not compete with the lower standard of living the smaller market teams can offer players. Money saved is money earned. Also taxes are much higher the closer one lives to civilization. SO ANY CAP MUST INCLUDE A STANDARD OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT!!!

    Better yet… Lets drop this Cap BS. If the owners want to revenue share? This would allow the top market teams to help support the dead wood teams in the NHL. Fine with me, But this is between the owners – not the players. The players Assholeciation has nothing to do with how the owners divide up their money.

    Finally… CAN WE STOP EXPANDING THE NHL? Why are we letting more small market teams into the league. All the fans are going to do anyway is complain about how unfair the NHL is and how their team can’t be competitive. Actually, lets down size the league especially if the Canadian government won’t help out their teams by 1-lowering their very high taxes and 2- supplement the difference in USA currency and Canadian currency.

    I am 33 years old and I have seen the Rangers win one Stanley Cup! The reason for this is ALL FREE AGENTS ARE IN THEIR 30’S. Free Agency in the NHL is a farce! 30 year old free agents will usually hurt a team more than they help – unless they have a solid core of young players. Look at the Devils… I don’t see their fans crying about a cap! Enough Allready!!!

    Cecil Turtle.

  6. IslesFan17 says:

    I would like to see the league get rid of Unrestricted Free Agency. That would force GM’s to trade a lot more instead of signing. Which would take a lot more effort and thinking to build a good team. Meaning, they would earn the money they make.

  7. devilfan says:

    I think a light salary cap will help hockey. The NHL doesnt have to put a tight hold on free agent signings but it is starting to get out of hand, and they have to control it. Large market teams are just spending money as if they had their own mint. Trading and Drafting have become nothing to GMs anymore and that isnt the way the game should be played.

    One person said something about Devils fans not complaining and I just want to comment on that. , The reason I dont complain about a cap, is because the team does spend money, where they feel it is appropriate. Lou and Bob Hartley are the best two GMs in the league, and the lack of the agressiveness for the big free agent signing proves it. The only big contracts on both teams are from trades or the draft. There is not one guy on either team that is overpayed.

    I dont know how the Avs work, but i do know about the Devils. Lou doesnt overspend on anyone. He only dishes out the big contract when he feels the player deserves it, i.e. brodeur, stevens, and elias. Bobby Holik is at best a second line center. Forget what he can do for you, but does a second liner deserve is contract. Of course not, thats why we let him go. Lous only mistake was Mogilny. He got a reasonable contract from the Leafs, and he should of matched it.

    This is for all the large market teams fans out there. Not one team during this offseason that signed a big free agent has a chance of winning the cup. All of the big UFAs this year were forwards, other than Joseph and Belfour. Offense doesnt win the cup. Defense does, and thats what the Devils and Avs have mainly focused on. That is why they have won 4 of the last 8 cups.

  8. r_milley says:

    Ok, YES a cap is needed, BUT…

    “Teams drafting actually factured in to the success of the team. Now all you need to do is throw some cash at a free agent” is a big load of crap. Does money help? Yes, of course. But the teams that have drafted well have won. You think Detroit wins any Cups if Steve Yzerman is drafted by Hartford?

  9. Flyers_01 says:

    I do .. Scotty Bowman was more important to the team than Steve Y. It was Bowman who made Yzerman what he is today, not the other way around.

  10. cecilturtle says:

    If other teams built / operated their team like the Devils, this topic “salery cap” would not be an issue. Lou gets my vote for exec. of the year for the last decade.

    Cecil Turtle

  11. ManillaKilla says:

    Ahh, wrong. If that were true mike sillinger would be a future hall-of-famer. After all, his numbers in junior dwarfed Yzerman’s by far. However, under Bowman’s tutelage he turned into a fourth line checking center. Furthermore, it was Yzerman who almost single-handedly beat Vancouver in the first round, not Bowman, or any other of the players he coached. This has got to be one of the more foolish posts this year.

  12. mebeda says:

    You’re right, teams that have drafted well have won, but eventually those young players will become free agents and force a team to either meet their demands or trade them or sign somewhere else. As a Bruins fan, I happen to be an expert on that topic!

    MOst of the big free agent signings this year will play for average teams. Dallas won’t go from not making the playoffs to being a Cup contender. Holik is a great player, but not the player the Rangers needed.

  13. ManillaKilla says:

    Is there anyway we can put a cap on the number of articles on a cap?

  14. ManillaKilla says:

    I really feel sorry for you. Your in the worst situation of all. Big market, strong support, tight-ass owner.

  15. titans says:

    Haven’t I read this article like eight times over the last couple months??

  16. The_Baron says:

    So true. Not much going on right now, not much else to talk about I guess.

  17. Walks44 says:

    The detroit lions bit is a metaphor, look at the Lions record last year 1-14 or something like that. The nhl doesnt need embarrsements like that.

  18. NYR88Express says:

    I think that there shouldn’t be a TEAM salary cap of say $40 million…I believe that there should be a player’s salary cap, in which players can not make more than say $5 million per season or sign contracts larger than $5 M..

    ..these numbers are only random…but i think that a Player Salary Cap is better than a Team Salary Cap

  19. r_milley says:

    The NHLPA would laugh in the face of anyone suggesting a “Player Cap” of anything below $12 or $13mil

  20. dazplumy says:

    well, I think that something has to be done about the “stacking” of teams. But I don’t know if a salary cap would work. Take for example (I know that its a different sport and all), look at what happend to Major League baseball when they suggested salary caps! The players went on strike, and lost the remainder of the season and post season. And what did they earn? There is still no cap on the MLB, and the game has been badly tarnished since then!

    Now, I don’t think that the players from the NHL would go on strike if such a suggestion was put forth, but it is a possiblity.

    But I would have to agree with some of the other coments placed in this artical.

    1- stop expanding the NHL. some of these new teams are low on “big game talent” and most of the time. And its hard for a team like Atlanta to spentd money like New York or Detriot.

    2-get rid of Unrestricted free agents! More trades, less big signings, more of a balance in teams.

    3-*for Canadian teams*. Slash the f*cking taxes up here!!!! For sh*ts sakes, our dollar sucks, there for (with the exception maybe of the CFL) any team of any sport in Canada is going to have a hard time with money compared to our American counter parts!!!! Plus I think the public needs a tax break as well, tickets get expensive up here when the tax gets into effect!

    I don’t think that salary caps is a good suggestion for now. Do some other options first before u bring out the big guns!

  21. cecilturtle says:

    Thank you… I agree 100%.

  22. MossRocks says:

    The owners in big markets are not better or more effective owners than those in small markets. Big market owners are successful because they have a big TV market that results in high revenues, not because they know something that the other teams don’t.

    Give me an example of a lazy owner in the NHL. You would say Wirtz in Chicago and Jacobs in Boston. Those owners would not benefit from revenue sharing because, although they don’t spend money to help their teams, they still have large revenues and would have to pay into the pool, not take out of it.

    The small market owners all work hard and many teams (Edmonton for example) have higher numbers of season ticket holders and higher capacity %’s than many of the big markets. They don’t succeed because they don’t make enough money on TV.

    How can you say revenue sharing doesn’t work? Look at the NFL, the Green Bay Packers can compete with LA, New York, etc on an even footing. Green Bay!! Edmonton is three times the size of Green Bay. Alberta has about the same population as Wisconsin too, so the state support thing doesn’t fly either.

    As for owners paying players large salaries and making money. Detroit had to make the finals last year to break even. I bet you didn’t know that. Yes they are owners out there who run their teams like play toys and spend more money than they make. I think Hicks is an example of an owner like that. What is Dallas’ payroll now? $65million? they will have a tough time getting that money back during the year.

  23. MossRocks says:

    NHL players are in their prime from 28-32. This is the high point of experience gained before they start to lose their physical tools.

    Why should the Canadian government have to pay for a league that can’t control spending? That is bullshit. No government anywhere should be expected to subsidize professional sports considering they contribute very little to the economy. All they do is redistribute income from my wallet into the wallets of players and owners. No, the Canadian government has no obligation to do something as stupid as this.

    Forget your standard of living adjustment. That is hilarious. Anybody making more than $500,000/yr is not impacted by the change in expenses between NY and Montana. They are still making more money than they need. You are penalising small markets if you were to set up a cap this way because that is one of the only small advantages for the small markets.

    The Rangers stink and that is why they only have one cup.

    Lastly, expansion has added Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul recently and those are hardly small markets.

  24. MossRocks says:

    Lacroix is the GM in Colorado, not Hartley. Colorado spent a lot of money in free agency last year: they resigned Blake, Roy and Sakic and dropped nearly $30million dollars more than any team spent this year.

    The two teams may not spend much on UFA’s in general but they both have payrolls significantly above the NHL average. They are able to keep the players they acquire and develop. Small markets are not afforded that luxury. The Oilers were forced to trade Doug Weight, 1-2 years before they should have. That is a problem that NJ and Colorado don’t have because they can afford to keep these players. This is the real issue and more important than the UFA stuff.

  25. trotsky says:

    “Actually, lets down size the league especially if the Canadian government won’t help out their teams by 1-lowering their very high taxes and 2- supplement the difference in USA currency and Canadian currency. “

    I do not understand what you are trying to articulate in the above paragraph. Are you insinuating that Canadian teams should be contracted from the league? Furthermore, they should be contracted because our government won’t lower taxes to help hockey teams??? As much as I love hockey, I would prefer to know that my children have access to medi-care than the Canucks being able to sign Pavel Bure. As for contracting Canadian teams, this would hurt the league far more than it would help. The Canadian viewer ship of hockey is the same if not greater than the American viewer ship, despite the discrepancy in size (Canada’s population is roughly the size of California). Contracting Canadian teams would severely lower the NHL fan base. Therefore, a vast amount of revenue would be lost and no teams could justify paying the players what they pay them today.

    The point is they are just hockey players. They are not engineers, doctors, or teachers. They are not discovering the cure for cancer or eliminating world hunger and child exploitation. They play hockey. How can we justify paying someone 9 million a year, who is merely an entertainer. Salary Cap may not be the end all be all, however, at least it could balance the scales of the hockey world. Holik getting 9 million a year would never happen. These recent signing are killing the game. When I was a kid we never knew the players salaries. Now, we know every team’s payroll, their highest and lowest paid players. This transformation makes me feel sad!

  26. bruinsfan12 says:

    Yes yes there needs to be a salary cap before I pull all my hair out. It truly is getting ridiculous and I don’t care if it won’t solve every problem, it will certainly help. A player cap is a good idea, too. A person shouldn’t be making $9 million a year playing a sport, but it happens, so I wish they would put player caps on all the professional sports, its too bad they cant

  27. pemulis says:

    Yo get off the rock! Lots of people haven’t seen their teams win the cup-I’m 32 and I haven’t seen the Leafs or the Canucks win the cup but you don’t see me whining. The reason the Rangers don’t win the cup is that they think they can build a team buy signing free agents. The teams then have no chemistry and less heart. Now if they would actually try to develop players they might get somewhere. Not that we care.

    ps. the other posters are right, I’d rather have universal healthcare than a millionare sports team owner sucking my dollars to pay for his arena/stadium.

  28. pemulis says:

    What? You’re point was that free agents were too old. Yo Narcotics Anonymous for you Turtley.

  29. pemulis says:

    Yo those taxes pay for your doctors, your schools(although you might ask for your money back), among thousands of other things. You might also note our economy is outperforming the U.S’ right now.

    As for Atlanta, last I checked they had pretty deep pockets, it’s just not too many stars want to play on a recent expansion team. Give them a few years and they’ll be fine.

  30. Aves21 says:

    The NHL should put a salary cap. I don’t want to see hockey turn in to baseball!

  31. meetak says:

    I gotta agree.And the NFL is the perfect example of how a salary cap AND revenue sharing can work.You don’t hear much complaining by the owners or the players, because they are all making lots of dough, and they don’t have to crank ticket prices to such a level that families simply can’t go to games.The league is also very competitive.

    I don’t think that revenue sharing really extends to merchandise or even ticket sales: it just covers TV revenues, which the league handles and distributes among all the clubs.If a team had absolutly no fan support, it would still have to fold up and move, and that’s how it should be.

    Some of the owners of the larger market clubs might not mind a cap either, as they would no longer have to maintain the “keeping up with the joneses” strategy of having to sign big name players to big money contracts in order to keep fan suport.They could be moderate and woul;d have the cap as an excuse.

    As for the comments about pro sports not contributing much to the economy, and wanting full medicare instead of lining the pockets of millionaires:Pro sports teams have innumerable economic spinoffs that benefit the communities they are in(jobs, tourism etc etc).If the federal government actually wanted us to have full medicare, we would have it already, and the small amount that the Canadian NHL teams would need isn’t even a drop in the bucket compared to healthcare.Recently the Canadian government spent 750 million on used British submarines that aren’t seaworthy, just so we could say we had them.Yet there was little public outcry, compared to the s%$t that hit the fan after it was suggested that they would give 12 million to our hockey clubs.

  32. cecilturtle says:

    Yo put down the glass dick G-Money. How could you say the NHL needs a cap and then say the any NHL team “like the Rangers” can’t win by signing free agents. What is your point??? Please sober up before commenting!

    Cecil Turtle

  33. cecilturtle says:

    Did you know that the Devils play at cont. air arena for free “for example”. NJ picks up 100 % of the cost. NJ is shirly not the only state that does this. If Canada does not wan’t to do this for their NHL Cities??? Don’t cry as more and more NHL teams move from Canada to the USA!

    As far as my point on the standard of living… By your comment – you missed my point completely. The cost of a house is $500,000 not yr-ly salery??? What are you talking about?

    The Rangers Stink and have only one cup… I agree Edison!!! The reason they suck is because the free agency system only allows over the hill players to change teams. So we agree the Rangers suck… Now let me get this idea of yours… You wan’t to put a cap on the reason for their failures??? Please read my post more thoroughly and post your comment again for you made no sense today?

    Cecil Turtle

  34. cecilturtle says:

    Did you know that the Devils play at cont. air arena for free “for example”. NJ picks up 100 % of the cost. NJ is shirly not the only state that does this. If Canada does not wan’t to do this for their NHL Cities??? Don’t cry as more and more NHL teams move from Canada to the USA!

    As far as my point on the standard of living… By your comment – you missed my point completely. The cost of a house is $500,000 not yr-ly salery??? What are you talking about?

    The Rangers Stink and have only one cup… I agree Edison!!! The reason they suck is because the free agency system only allows over the hill players to change teams. So we agree the Rangers suck… Now let me get this idea of yours… You wan’t to put a cap on the reason for their failures??? Please read my post more thoroughly and post your comment again for you made no sense today?

    Cecil Turtle

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