Notes From Final Day Of NHL’s General Manager’s Meetings: Expansion, Salary Cap, Draft Lottery Odds And Key Dates Ahead

NHL general managers wrapped up their final day of meetings at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, Fla on Wednesday. Commissioner Gary Bettman also met with the media on Wednesday following the conclusion of the meetings.

Salary Cap

According to Eric Engles, the salary cap doesn’t appear likely to go up by more than a million for next season. Brad Treliving, Flames GM, said he and the other GMs aren’t planning to have more space.

Gary Bettman said the NHL is willing to discuss a larger salary cap bump than $1M for next season with the NHLPA, but the league needs to see what incoming executive director Marty Walsh wants to do. Walsh is officially scheduled to start his job with the NHLPA next Monday.

Bettman noted in December that the $1 million rise is based on current revenue projections, noting players still owe escrow. He added that revenue could exceed projections and see the cap raised higher.

The Players negotiated a six per cent escrow cap over the last three seasons of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). That’s great for them, but probably a big stumbling block for league. If the NHL and NHLPA discuss/negotiate an agreement to raise the cap more despite the escrow balance not being paid off, the escrow percentage would have to rise from a set number of 6%.

The salary cap also increased by $1 million – to $82.5 million – for the 2022-23 season after sitting at $81.5 million in each of the previous two years.

Sale Of The Senators

Bettman said the timeline for the sale of the Ottawa Senators is “a matter of weeks” as the league moves on to the next stage of the process.

“As we get to Phase 2, it’s a matter of weeks,” he told reporters at the end of the league’s general managers’ meetings on Wednesday.

When asked to describe what happens in Phase 2, Bettman replied, “You begin the process of winnowing down the number of interested parties, and while you’re reducing the number of parties, you’re hopefully increasing the magnitude of their interest – for those that are remaining.”

NHL Draft Lottery

The NHL’s draft lottery has been set for May 8 at 7 p.m. The much-anticipated draw will determine which of the bottom 11 non-playoff teams at the end of the season will land generational player and consensus No. 1 prospect Connor Bedard. The 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28 and 29 in Nashville.

The current odds to land the number one pick, courtesy of The Daily Faceoff:

Rank Team Record Pts % Lottery Odds
1. Columbus Blue Jackets 21-38-7 .371 25.5%
2. San Jose Sharks 19-36-13 .375 13.5%
3. Chicago Blackhawks 23-38-6 .388 11.5%
4. Anaheim Ducks 22-35-10 .403 9.5%
5. Philadelphia Flyers 24-32-11 .440 8.5%
6. Montreal Canadiens* 27-35-6 .441 7.5%
7. Arizona Coyotes 25-32-11 .449 6.5%
8. Vancouver Canucks 29-32-5 .477 6.0%
9. St. Louis Blues 29-32-5 .477 5.0%
10. Detroit Red Wings 30-28-9 .515 3.5%
11. Washington Capitals 32-29-7 .522 3.0%


Bettman said the NHL has received expansion interest: “Places like Atlanta, like Houston, like Quebec City.” He added, “But we’re not in an expansion mode right now and it’s not really something, at least right now, that’s anywhere close to front-burner for us.”

Stanley Cup Playoffs/Final

The first day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be April 17. The Stanley Cup Final is tentatively scheduled to begin on June 3, subject to a possible move-up in the event the earlier series wrap up quickly.

Playoff Format

Bettman reiterated that the league’s playoff format is fine by him and he has no interest in going back to the old eight-team conference seedings.

“If you’ve been tracking it for the last month, there isn’t much difference between either format,” Bettman said. “We think, and I think it’s concurred with (among) the general managers, that what we’ve got works really well. I know that some people may have a preference for doing things differently. But this is working well. And we’re not looking to make any changes.”

Coaches Challenges

The hottest-button topic at the meetings was the potential expansion of coach’s challenges, which would allow coaches to address friendly-fire high-sticking penalties and delay-of-game penalties where replay shows the puck actually clipped the glass.

In the end, the GMs decided to gather more information before determining whether to bring it to the competition committee in June. If a formal recommendation is made, it would then be brought to the Board of Governors for approval.

General Working Group Discussions 

Expanding three-on-three overtime from five minutes to seven minutes before a shootout was also a topic, but no formal recommendation was made.

Key Dates On The NHL Calendar 

Monday, April 17

Start of 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Monday, May 8

2023 NHL Draft Lottery (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, SN, TVAS)

Saturday, June 3

Tentative start of 2023 Stanley Cup Final (TNT, SN, TVAS)

Sunday, June 4 – Saturday, June 10

2023 NHL Scouting Combine presented by adidas (Buffalo)

Monday, June 26

2023 NHL Awards (Bridgestone Arena)

Wednesday, June 28

Round 1 of 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft (7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT, ESPN, SN, TVAS) (Bridgestone Arena)

Thursday, June 29

Rounds 2-7 of 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft (11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT, NHLN, SN, TVAS) (Bridgestone Arena)


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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11 Responses to Notes From Final Day Of NHL’s General Manager’s Meetings: Expansion, Salary Cap, Draft Lottery Odds And Key Dates Ahead

  1. KimRB says:

    May 8 is now circled on my calendar! I went to a website called Tankathon, that has a Mock Lottery tool. Well, guess who won! Of course, that was after Anaheim won it twice, but….

    I believe there’s gonna be two lotteries, one for first pick, one for second. We know the Caps, and every team, would take Bedard first, but who would take if they get 2nd overall? I’ve seen a couple of rankings, with Russian smoothie Matvei Michkov at 2nd. Problem there of course, is he’s signed to KHL till 2026. There’s also big center Adam Fantilli, who’s tearing up the NCAA as a freshman, and Swede Leo Carlsson, who’s broken some of our own Backy’s records, as a teenager. I’d probably take Fantilli

  2. novafyre says:

    Don’t understand the escrow agreement. will have to try to read up on that.

  3. novafyre says:

    Note to Gary: I am one of those who doesn’t like the current seeding.

    During the year, I would also like to see schedules divided into Papa BEar (division games), Mama Bear (rest of conference games), and Baby Bear (other conference). I really like the Division battles of the AHL and ECHL. It would be cheaper, and in surveys players have indicated a preference for it.

    Bolts played in NJ yesterday (Vitek lost), will play again in NJ tomorrow, and the rubber game will be in Tampa Sunday. That, to me, is more exciting than playing a game against the Kings.

    • KimRB says:

      My proposal:

      Divisions of 8 teams. Two games against every team not in your division equals 48 games. 5 games against 7 divisional opponents equals 35 games, plus 1 game against a random opponent, equals a grand total of 84 games.

      We have to get back to divisional rivalries. Three games each against Ottawa and Buffalo makes for snooze filled hockey, at least as far as intensity goes. And three games against traditional rivals, like NYR, isn’t enough.

  4. hockeydruid says:

    I was having lunch with several friends today and we were talking about the rule changes for this season in baseball and the subject of possible rule changes in hockey came up. Several of the possible rule changes that came up were: 1) changing the roster size on game day from 20 to 22 however the additional 2 players could dress but would not play unless a player was injured and out for the game, the extra players could not be activated for a minor injury that sent the player to the dressing room but he could return nor could he be activated if a player was ejected from the game only for a game ending injury; 2) extend the 3-on-3 play to 10 minutes, an alternative to this was 1 five minute 4-on-4 period followed by 1 3-on-3 five minute period before going to the shoot out which results in a winner take all, no points to the losing team just like regulation; 3) goals in the shootout count as player stats; 4) players who encroach on the faceoff receive a 3 minute penalty, either stay where you are suppose to or head to the box and finally 5) as coaches are using reviews like a time out if you slow the game by reviewing tape without requesting a review you lose your timeout and if you request a review and fail then you also lose the timeout and receive a 3 minute penalty for delay of game, so no using the tape review process to try and change the games tempo.

    • novafyre says:

      1) like
      2) one writer suggested pond hockey rules which I understood to mean no blue lines, no offsides. He thought it would open the game up more. I think it’s worth trying.
      3) no
      4) They got really tough last year? year before? and then wimped out again. something needs be done. Not sure new rule is needed just better enforcement.
      5) not sure

      I would like to change points to winners only — 3 for regulation, 2 for overtime, 1 for shootout. Earlier you win, the more points you get. Loser gets nada.

      I would also like coaches to be able to publicly and officially question calls or non-calls after the game (say 1,2, or 3 per game) and league has 24 hours to provide review and public explanation. Sort of like DOPES on player misbehavior. Would not change result, but would provide more transparency and hopefully better refereeing. If nothing else it would give examples to refs, coaches, and players.

      • hockeydruid says:

        Interesting idea on the points and somehow I like it!!! I like the all or nothing for points that way teams cant play to tie at the end of regulation just to get 1 point.

        I have absolutely NO problem with coaches, players or even Gm’s going public about a bad or missed call. As in all sports the refs and their calls vary from game to game. There needs to be more consistency and bad refs need to go not stick around for years. If the refs do like ti the get your act together and properly enforce the rules all the time not just when you want to.

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