NHL salary cap, combine discussed on final day of GMs meetings | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaNHL salary cap, combine discussed on final day of GMs meetings

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | 03:00 PM

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The NHL wants its draft combine to be a one-stop shop for prospects, like Nathan MacKinnon last year, to undergo physical testing. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press) The NHL wants its draft combine to be a one-stop shop for prospects, like Nathan MacKinnon last year, to undergo physical testing. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

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Nothing huge came out of Wednesday morning's closing session at the NHL general managers meetings, but the salary cap and the draft combine were among the topics in Florida.
BOCA RATON, FLA. -- As Northeastern-based executives, league officials and reporters openly wept at the prospect of leaving sunny Florida for their snowbound homes, the NHL's general managers meetings came to a close Wednesday.

"There will be some recommendations, some things people will look at," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "But you should continue to enjoy the game principally the way it's being played."

(You can read more about the recommendations in Tuesday's blog.)

Nothing huge came out of Wednesday morning's session, but here are some snippets:

Next season's salary cap

"We didn't make a new projection," Bettman said. "I know a lot of people were talking about the number we showed the board in December. That was an illustration, it wasn't based on anything because we didn't have any revenues.

"We said after we get to the end of the regular season we may be able to better project what it looks like. With the Canadian dollar where it is, maybe you're looking at a $1-million or $2-million difference in the cap based on where the cap is likely to be. It's not that big of a deal."

The number showed to the board in December was $71.1 million US.

Draft combine

There was some pretty spirited discussion about this. Apparently, teams weren't thrilled Buffalo brought in 85 prospects last season for closer evaluations.

Sabres GM Tim Murray had a sense of humour about it, joking that Edmonton's Craig MacTavish told him, "It was a great battle, but you couldn't win."

"It's about a level playing field. What's best for all 30 teams," said Pittsburgh's Ray Shero.

"The whole purpose of the combine in the first place was to eliminate 30 teams doing different things with young players, because you could have young players going to 30 different cities to do these tests," said Washington's George McPhee. "We originally came up with a combine to streamline that and have all the players go to one place, work out, and you get the results... We added new tests, upgraded it, modified it."

"It was a good discussion, good points made on both sides, but ideally what we want is one combine where everybody gets their information and it's equal for both teams."

Here's what is allowed:

"After the combine, you can bring a player to your city, interview him, take him out to dinner, medically test him, MRI him, whatever you need to do," said NHL senior executive vice-president Colin Campbell. "But you can't physically test him, you can't put him on the ice, you can't do any of that."

Players who are not invited to the combine can be brought to a city and physically tested and/or put on ice.

So what's the punishment for team's that break the rule?

"It's a significant fine," Campbell said. "[Commissioner Bettman] has to get approval from the board of governors to do that. In the past, it was a smaller fine... Our guys even talked about the possibility of attaching a draft choice to it, to make it significant. We didn't go there."

Devils' pick penalty

For the first time, the commissioner was asked about the league's decision to restore New Jersey's first-round draft pick previously taken away as punishment for the Devils' circumventing of the salary cap with the Ilya Kovalchuk contract.

He said new ownership "was obviously" one factor.

"In the context of everything that took place and the circumstances, I thought the penalty could, and should, be adjusted," Bettman said. "It is still a severe penalty, considering the fact that if the Devils don't make the playoffs, not only is it a lottery pick they might lose, it might be the first pick of the draft. So, under all the circumstances, I was very comfortable making the modification."

Regardless of where the Devils fall in draft positioning this year, they will pick 30th.

See you in the snow, everyone.

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