From every account, the 2013-14 NHL season has been a massive success. Fans returned and then some after the lockout in 2012-13 plus the outdoor games were increased six-fold.
It was such a great season by the NHL's standards that commissioner Gary Bettman effused praise at the start of the Stanley Cup, trumpeting his league's success.
"Thanks to our fans, we set records for attendance at our arenas and viewership on NBC. By any measure this may have been the most successful season on and off the ice in NHL history."
That helps explain why the salary cap is likely going to take a huge jump this offseason. There have been various estimates on what the salary cap would come to for next season. Given that it's based on this season's revenue, there's now a pretty clear idea of where that revenue number will fall. According to Chris Botta, it will be way up there and will only climb again next year.
Source: NHL natl revenue approx. $3.7 billion this season. With new CAN TV deal, will be well over $4B next season. More in SBJ.— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) June 9, 2014
So, what does that mean for the salary cap? It would slightly exceed the estimate Bettman gave in late April of landing in the $69 million-$70 million range. James Mirtle did a little number crunching a while ago and came up with a little scale with the new CBA terms.
Here are some rough calculations on how NHL's revenue this year will affect the cap next year (in millions) pic.twitter.com/86UsfKeNrw— James Mirtle (@mirtle) May 26, 2014
If Botta's sources are correct, then the salary cap should fall in somewhere around $70.6 million, the floor at $53.4 million. Those numbers this season? The cap was $64.3 million and the floor was at $44 million, so those will be pretty big jumps.
It's not hard to envision teams near the cap quickly using that excess money to land another big-name player or a couple of other guys on relatively cheap deals. Certainly it's enough to make an impact. As for teams on the floor, well, they're going to have to up the payroll rather considerably.
The official numbers will be released after the Stanley Cup Final is completed.