After three days in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida the yearly March NHL GM Meeting’s have come to an end. The 31 GM’s from around the league got together for some golf, some drinks, and a few meetings. Many things were discussed, here is a summary of the most important topics discussed at the NHL GM Meeting’s.
Summary of the March NHL GM Meeting’s
With a looming Seattle expansion coming, the NHL’s goaltender interference controversies and offsides were amongst just a few of the talking points around the league. The GM’s got together with a common goal of working out the kinks in the league.
The biggest issue coming into this meeting, and with the playoffs around the corner, was goaltender interference. The league laid out some interesting numbers; out of over 1,100 games this season there was only 170 challenges. Of those challenges, only 51 times was the call on the ice overruled. The league also went on to say they agreed with the majority of the calls that the refs made.
Despite how allegedly accurate the on-ice officials are, the GMs agreed that the challenges should be taken away from the refs and handed to the war room. A major complaint around the league was about lack of consistency on rulings. It seemed goalies, coaches, fans, and even GM’s could not tell what was and what wasn’t goaltender interference. Instead of the on-ice calls being decided upon by refs, the replay will immediately go to the situation room in Toronto and be looked at. In addition, a retired referee will be a part of the team in Toronto tasked with making the call.
The General Managers did elect to not impose a two-minute penalty for failed coaches challenges, like the offside rule. With goaltender interference coming down to a judgment call and not a black and white rule, it’s for the best at this point. Without removing the ability to challenge entirely, this is the best outcome we could have received, because now there should be a level of consistency. The rule has been approved by the NHLPA but still has to pass through the Board of Governors. That step is more of formality rather than a hurdle.
The Offside Rule
Much to many fans disappointment, the offside rule remains unchanged. The argument is that if a skater’s back foot is off the ice by a fraction of an inch, a goal scored up to minutes later can be called back. This has fallen under criticism for many reasons including delaying the game. With every coaches challenge, the refs have to huddle up around their tablet and watch the zone entry from multiple angles frame by frame for such a minute infraction. Although, the amount of challenges has dropped substantially since getting a penalty for failed challenges, the rule still bothers many fans.
Though this rule has a very inarguable line drawn (pun intended) in the sand, many have argued how much a fraction of an inch can affect a goal especially after a period of time of holding the puck in the offensive zone. In last years Stanley Cup Finals P.K. Subban had a goal overturned. Arguably, that call changed the course of an entire game. Though it seems like a perfectly legal zone entry at first glance, it wasn’t.
A closer look. 👀
Still 0-0. pic.twitter.com/6pPnt0E0R3
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 30, 2017
If your hope was to have that rule adjusted before the playoffs, sadly the time has not yet come. That isn’t to say the rule won’t be adjusted, but for now, it remains unaltered.
NHL’s Expansion to Seattle
With the NHL expected to add an expansion team to Seattle for the 2020-21 season, rules need to be in place for both the expansion draft and the entry draft. The Vegas Golden Knights will be only 3 years old at the time of the next expansion draft. Vegas will be exempt from both the expansion draft and a share of Seattle’s $650 Million buy-in fee. Bill Foley negotiated this when he struck a deal to add a team to Sin City. The remaining 30 teams in the league will get a $21.67 million dollar payday from Seattle’s Oak View Group when/if the expansion application is accepted.
Seattle will be treated exactly as Vegas was in the expansion draft. Seattle will receive the same odds in the lottery as the team finishing the year third from the bottom in the first round. In the remaining rounds, Seattle will pick third. It is only fair to be treated equally to how Vegas was after paying $150 Million more than Vegas did only 2 years ago.
Salary Cap Increase
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, “There’s healthy revenue growth again this year”. That is good news for teams that want some more spending money, and players that want bigger contracts. The NHL is projecting the new salary cap will be between $78 Million to $82 Million. Even at the smallest increase, teams will have another $3 Million to spend The largest increase would give another $7 Million a year to spend. The current salary cap is $75 Million
The final number depends on the negotiations between the NHLPA and the NHL. This increase is good news for UFAs this summer. The cap bump will be in effect for the 2018-19 season.