Billy Daly was on the Fan 590’s Hockey Central yesterday, speaking from the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting wherein he would be briefing the organizations on the impacts of the Canadian rights agreement with Rogers.
Speaking to on the projections of where the cap ceiling would be next season, Daly refused to provide a specific figure.
“I won’t disclose to you before I disclose to the Board, but yeah, we typically use the December meeting… look, it’s just a projection but obviously the amount of increase we’ll get from the Canadian rights deal is a fixed number. It gives us a neighborhood. We gave projections to the board back in September.
“The cap will go up.”
How much is it going up?
TSN reports that the cap ceiling is projected to rise to $71.1 million in 2014/15 from the $64.3 million that it is currently set at. The cap floor is also expected to rise proportionately, moving from its current $44 million threshold to somewhere in the vicinity of $52 million.
Capgeek’s figures show that the Senators already have almost $46.1 million in salary committed to 14 players, so assuming Melnyk holds true to his word that the organization will continue to be a mid-cap team, the Senators will have 14 to 15 million dollars to spend on eight players to fill their roster – for an average of almost $1.8 million per player.
The Senators will inevitably retain some of their impending RFAs. Cory Conacher and Mike Hoffman should be relatively cheap (assuming they are given qualifying offers and don’t become UFAs), but I expect Robin Lehner to get at least $1.5 to $2.0 million on a short-term deal.
As for their unrestricted free agents, I can’t imagine the Senators will reinvest in Milan Michalek and roll the dice with his chronic knee(s), but apparently the Senators are already negotiating a contract extension with veteran defenceman Chris Phillips.
Earning $3.083 million in the last year of his three-year contract that he signed in 2011, I would anticipate an aging player to earn less than he is currently making.
So, if Phillips signs for $2.0 to $2.5 million and Lehner clocks in at $1.5 million, and maybe an extra million and a half to two million for Conacher and Hoffman or replacement level players, the Senators would essentially have approximately $10 million to spend to fill their four remaining roster spots. And the Senators wanted to create more payroll flexibility, they could elect to anoint Lehner as their guy and replace Craig Anderson with a backup goaltender who earns one-third to half of Anderson’s $3.1 million salary.
The Senators are in good shape from a cost-efficiency standpoint, but with so many other teams sharing the financial flexibility afforded by an escalating cap ceiling and the extra revenue generated by this Rogers deal, imagine plenty of GM's will be throwing their weight around in free agency.
Impact of the Rogers deal…
"We thought the TV deal was going to be a home run," Phoenix Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc told the Canadian Press yesterday. "I didn't expect it to be a grand slam." ~ via mobile.philly.com
Going back to Bill Daly’s interview on Hockey Central, Nick Kypreos remarked offhand about how significant this deal is for small market teams.
“Just speaking to a few reps from Phoenix, they actually believe that this television deal would make them profitable.”
If Phoenix (Phoenix!) can be profitable following this deal, there’s not a chance in hell the Senators, an organization that Melnyk claimed no longer had to make the playoffs to turn a profit, will be making money; especially with the additional revenue that will be generated by their next regional television agreement.
You can already feel the shift in the emotion and attitude of fans when it comes to the Senators’ owner, and if this continues its penny-pinching ways, the voicing of displeasures, like hockey-related revenue, is only going to grow.