Gary Bettman gives updates on NHL salary cap, Senators sale, Coyotes' new home

The NHL salary cap isn't expected to see a big increase next year, the Senators' sale is on track, and the league still hopes to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed an array of topics before Game 1 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. Bettman discussed continued uncertainty around the Arizona Coyotes, a small increase for the 2023-24 salary cap, sites for the 2024 Winter Classic and NHL All-Star Game, legal updates and more.

Let's dive into the biggest topics:

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks prior to Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

NHL salary cap unlikely to see a big increase for 2023-24

In discussing the state of the league, Bettman mixed good news and bad news. While trumpeting approximately $6 billion in revenue (noting “more beans to count”), Bettman explained that escrow issues will likely only translate to about a $1-million increase in the salary cap for the 2023-24 season.

The 2022-23 salary cap was $82.5M, so NHL teams may get approximately $83.5M to work with for 2023-24. Give or take a few beans.

You can be forgiven for getting a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” vibe from this, but there was an implication that the salary cap could shoot up more dramatically for 2024-25.

On a different NHL/NHLPA note, putting together a World Cup of Hockey is a “priority.”

Don’t expect any criticisms of George Parros and the Department of Player Safety from Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and the NHL, by the way.

Senators sale nearing a conclusion

The sale of the Ottawa Senators has been one of the biggest talking points league-wide, with the process sounding more like a soap opera than a business transaction of late. Despite the drama that seems to be swirling, Bettman expects the sale to be wrapped up later this month, with a "very good outcome" on the horizon.

Legal/reinstatement updates: Nichushkin, Bowman, Quenneville

There have been ugly headlines for the NHL and hockey as a whole lately, with Bettman and Daly addressing quite a few of them on Saturday.

Valeri Nichushkin is eligible to play for the Colorado Avalanche next season, per Daly, with the league describing Colorado’s handling of the situation as “appropriate.” Body cam footage was recently released relating to the Avalanche forward's hotel incident.

It sounds like both former Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville have not yet been reinstated by the NHL after resigning in disgrace due to allegations made by Kyle Beach and others. Bowman and Quenneville are likely to meet with the NHL some time after the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.

Finishing off these legal updates, the NHL expects to release a report on its independent investigation of allegations of sexual assault against multiple members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team early this summer.

NHL still holding out hope to keep Coyotes in Arizona

It’s no secret that Bettman is turning over every stone to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. On Saturday, Bettman said the Coyotes will explore what their other options are in “the greater Phoenix area.”

That said, Bettman also acknowledged the league is receiving interest from Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. Daly added that expansion is not on the top of the league’s priority list.

As with many of the issues in this press conference, the theme remains “to be determined.”

Logos for 2024 Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game, more

That said, the NHL did share logos for the 2024 Winter Classic (Seattle Kraken vs. Vegas Golden Knights), 2024 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, the 2024 Stadium Series (New Jersey) and 2023 Heritage Classic (Edmonton).