Thanks to the spread of COVID-19, the National Hockey League shut down all gameplay while also closing player facilities. And while a solution continues to be explored regarding potential resuming of business operations, a clear picture of what that would look like hasn’t been reached.
Additionally, due to there being more questions than answers as to what the future will bring, an idea of what the marketplace would look like as far as future spending against the mandated salary cap goes isn’t exactly clear, either.
Notable NHL player agent Allan Walsh commented on the uncertainty, saying that in his discussions with players and executives that the cloud of the unknown remains too thick.
“When I talk to GMs, when I talk to people at the NHLPA, when I talk to players, when I talk to coaches, no one has answers. No one. No one knows what the market is going to look like,” Walsh said from his home in Los Angeles.
Walsh estimates the NHL could potentially lose up to $1 billion in revenue if the 2019-20 season isn’t able to resume. Of course, there’s also the fact that millions in revenue would be lost if the League were to return with a television-only format while playing in empty arenas compared to other sports leagues.
“Given the NHL’s reliance on being a gate-driven league, it might be more at risk right now than all the professional leagues in North America,” Walsh said.
“The NBA could go back and play in an empty building and they have this monster TV deal. The NHL doesn’t have that. So I think the NHL is much more impacted with what is happening.”
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman built a reputation while on the job in Tampa Bay of not being hesitant to pull the trigger on shrewd moves. Being able to attract free-agents to Detroit (I’m looking at you, former Spartan Torey Krug) would be a key component of the rebuild, but just how big of a wallet would they be able to wave?
“You cannot have free agency until we know what the upper limit of the salary cap will be next season,” Walsh said, while saying a new financial landscape isn’t out of the possibility.
If that proves to be the case, Yzerman would have his hands tied financially as to what he’d be able to bring to Detroit.
The team is expected to have several millions worth of cap space with the contracts of Jonathan Ericsson and Jimmy Howard set to come off the books.
The still-new Little Caesars Arena combined with Yzerman back at the helm may not be enough now to attract outside talent – but it won’t be their fault.
– – Quotes via Douglas Gelevan of CBC Link– –