NHL News: Gary Bettman addresses divisions, salary cap, helmet ads, and tanking

On the heels of signing a new seven year deal with ESPN, Gary Bettman has been front and center on a number of topics. Here’s a succinct recap of some of the more pertinent subjects.

Gary Bettman on Divisions for next season

The NHL Commissioner discussed the importance of realignment that was done for this season but feels strongly about a return to the old divisional alignment for next season.

He also added that they are looking at more divisional games but nothing like what we are seeing now. Bettman cited a survey that while 2/3 of fans love what the NHL did this season, 2/3 of fans want a return to the way things were.

NHL will see near flat cap for the foreseeable future

nhl salary cap
Jan 26, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; A view of a puck and the NHL logo and the face-off circle before the game between the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Salary Cap – regardless of the new deal reached with ESPN it should remain at or very close to $81.5 million for the foreseeable future.

“As part of that, the salary cap is basically going to be flat until we recover the overpayments through the escrow that we’ve built up both in the return to play from last season, which obviously had to be concluded under different circumstances, and this season we’re obviously… there’s a major escrow building up because of the fact that there’s no attendance… So I think everybody is focusing on a flat cap or a near-flat cap for the immediate future.”

via Sportsnet

Helmets ads are here to stay

If you were one of those traditionalist fans that hated the idea of putting ads on helmets – well then you won’t like this. Commissioner Bettman said teams generated around $100 million in revenue and he can see not only helmet ads but digital ads on the ice continuing forward.

Bettman on NHL Draft Lottery Changes

The NHL is proposing several changes to the Draft Lottery system. That includes for this upcoming lottery that only the first two picks are up for grabs. Meaning the worst team in the league is guaranteed to pick third if they don’t win the it.

Starting in the next draft no team can move up more than 10 spots and you can’t win the lottery if you’ve won it twice in a five year period. Per Bettman the system was screaming for change, but it’s not because he thinks there’s any tanking going on.

“There are some clubs who recently think it’s important that the teams that are struggling the most get the most help. There are other teams … that think there is nothing wrong with the present system at all,” Bettman said to media via Zoom Thursday. “I don’t believe there’s tanking in the game. I think our players, and our organizations, our coaches, are too professional.”

via TheScore