NHL GM meetings: Gary Bettman talks playoff format, expansion, salary cap and more

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As the NHL General Managers meeting continued in Florida on Wednesday, Commissioner Gary Bettman took some time to speak to the media about a number of topics discussed during the assembly and afterward.

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salary cap

For the first time, the NHL has added a small wrinkle to its stance on next year’s salary cap projections.

With escrow “approaching $100 million,” according to Bateman, the general managers left today’s meetings with the impression that the cap would only increase to $1 million. However, while talking to the media, Bateman said one thing that made some insiders’ ears stand up.

“I think it is more likely than not that we will still see an escrow balance,” Bateman shared. “But I think there is always a possibility of discussion after the new executive director of the players’ union (starts).”

The new executive director, former US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, officially begins his position with the players’ union. on MondayWhich seems to indicate that working towards next year’s range could be the first big item on its agenda.

playoff format

As echoed in the past, Bettman and the NHL remain constants in the current divisional playoff format. This time Bateman’s message was once again the status quo – despite some general manager publicly Disagree – the league has no interest in making any playoff format changes.

“We think what we’ve got works really well,” Bateman Said, “I know some people have a preference to do things differently but it is working well and we don’t want to make any changes.”

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Bateman pointed to the standings in recent weeks and explained how they is mirrored 1v8 format that existed prior to 2014.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to reporters during general managers’ meetings in Florida on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Update on Senator Sale

With the sale of the Ottawa Senators underway, Bateman provided a small glimpse into the bidding process, though neglected to reveal any details. The NHL commissioner confirmed that the first round of bids had been submitted. Chris Johnson of TSN Reporting that there are four to five bids total at this time.

“It is a work in progress. I think it is fair to say that there is a keen interest in the Senators (procurement) in a meaningful and significant way,” the commissioner said.

Bateman also noted that, while the second phase of the bid was still a bit down the line, it would take a few weeks for the situation to materialize at that point.

long overtime

While Bateman did not discuss the item publicly, TSN’s Darren Dreger indicated that work towards increasing overtime – up to seven minutes – was underway and had been discussed during meetings.

Dredger clarified that the results of the test conducted in the ECHL have been positive, although the decision will come down to entertainment value rather than competitive integrity.

Additionally, any rule change of this nature would need to go through the NHL’s Competition Committee, which includes the players’ union, leaving the final decision on the matter up to the Superstars which would likely take additional time if the Games was extended.

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expansion on the horizon?

as ESPN Kevin Weeks And John Buccigross Both have reported, interest in expanding the NHL to markets including Atlanta remains. Bateman confirmed this on Wednesday, but also sure poured some cold water on how imminent any of these plans were.

He told reporters, “There are a number of people, organizations and cities that express interest in having an NHL franchise where they don’t have one.” “Places like Atlanta, Houston, Quebec City. But we’re not in expansion mode right now.”

business related scratches

Bateman’s final point during his Wednesday availability surrounded this year’s eruption of “trade-related scratches,” though his words and demeanor showed no signs of pressing the matter.

Bateman shared, “It’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on whether this is the year based on how the teams are playing.” “If this is a continuing trend then we need to think about whether this is a problem and what are we going to do about it. And we are a long way from where we are”