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Lightning Round: NHL will discuss extending salary cap into the playoffs

The NHL’s GM will discuss this possibility at their meeting in Florida next Monday and Tuesday

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Ottawa Senators v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As Pierre LeBrun reported earlier this week, the NHL will discuss the possibility of extending the salary cap into the Stanley Cup playoffs and closing an infamous LTIR playoff loophole at the annual meeting of NHL team’s general managers, which is scheduled for the next Monday and Tuesday at Palm Beach, Florida.

Reportedly, there’s a group of about ten general managers, who have been discussing this possibility over the past month. This topic has been submitted to be added to the agenda of the upcoming meeting by at least one general manager and the NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is expected to open this discussion at the meeting. LeBrun, however, notes that even if all general managers will agree on extending salary cap into the postseason, the change will happen next year at the earliest and the NHLPA should also agree to this proposition [The Athletic, paid content]

Obviously, nothing would change for this year. Change never comes that fast. If this thing ever gets off the ground, it wouldn’t happen until next season at the earliest. And it should be noted, the very notion of extending the salary cap into the postseason is really a CBA matter that requires the NHLPA to sign off on it.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the most recent teams, which used LTIR loophole. In 2021, the Lightning placed forward Nikita Kucherov, who just underwent a hip surgery, on LTIR, which resulted in Kucherov missing the whole regular season. That move allowed the Lightning to keep some important players and make some deals at the trade deadline, and by the time Kucherov returned for Game 1 of the first round against the Florida Panthers, the Lightning were significantly over the cap. The Vegas Golden Knights might be another team who’s going to use this loophole this season with Mark Stone, who’s currently on LTIR.

According to LeBrun, one of the proposed ideas is to allow teams to carry throughout the playoffs rosters, which exceeding the current cap, but their game day line up should be under the cap. For example, the Lightning had a $85.4 million roster on the ice for the Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens, which is still over the cap.

Meanwhile, the next season salary cap is expected to jump by one million to $82.5 million, according to some last year’s reports.

Lightning Links

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The Orlando Solar Bears opened the weekend with a victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Hockey News

The results of another busy night in the NHL.

The Montreal Canadiens have been officially eliminated from the playoff contention.

The Minnesota Whitecaps and the Boston Pride advanced to the Isobel Cup semifinals.