A look at how the salary cap increase for next season impacts the Canucks

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly confirmed the salary cap increase for the 2024-25 campaign, and it will be even better for the Canucks that previously projected.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Press Conference
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Press Conference / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Vancouver Canucks obviously wish they had been preparing for this year's Stanley Cup Final, instead of the Edmonton Oilers who knocked them out in the second round in frustrating circumstances. Despite missing out however, there was still some news announced on Saturday prior to game one in Florida, which was of relevance to them.

As per NHL.com, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly confirmed the salary cap for next season will increase to $88 million. This is welcome news, with it actually being slightly more than previous projections of between $87.5 million and $88.7 million.

The increase of 5.39 percent is the biggest since the 2018-19 season, when the salary cap went up by 6.0 percent. The intervening years had seen minimal overall improvement, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and escrow payments.

Historically speaking, as per Cap Friendly, the biggest increase was 14.32 percent for the 2007-08 season (from $34.3 million to $50.3 million). The salary cap was first implemented for the 2005-06 NHL season, as a result of the 2004-05 lockout.

As per NHL.com, it was also confirmed that the lower limit per team for next season will be $65 million, and the midpoint will be $76.5 million. Not that this will be an issue for a Canucks team aiming to build on their success of this season.

Canucks in a better position that most but still face significant challenges

With the 2024-25 salary cap now confirmed, the Canucks currently have a projected cap space of $24,078,333 available which, as per Cap Friendly, is the eighth highest amount in the NHL. In fact, with the likelihood the final year of Tucker Poolman's contract of $2.5 million being attributed to Long-Term Injured Reserve next season, the figure should increases to $26,578,333.

As much as this is all good news on the surface level for the Canucks, the reality is every single cent is needed. Consider that as things stand, they have nine unrestricted and two restricted pending free agents to deal with on their current roster.

This includes the likes of Nikita Zadorov, Elias Lindholm, Dakota Joshua, Filip Hronek and Arturs Silovs, who will all be looking for -- and more than likely to get -- pay rises in their next deals. As per the speculation already circulating, the reality is the Canucks are not going to be able to bring everyone back next season despite the size of the salary cap increase.

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Looking ahead, the salary cap for 2025-26 is currently projected to increase by 5.14 percent, to $92 million. Bettman expects this type of increase to become the new norm, as he said: "I predict that it will continue to go up. Obviously, with the number of years we had with flat or modest increases it was necessary to recapture how much was overpaid and how much the escrow built up during COVID, but I believe we’re going to continue to see robust growth in the cap."

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