Salary cap is $8M above the salary midpoint, which is 57% of league revenues divided by 30 teams (there's also a 5% multiplier in there but let's not get too crazy).
Salary floor is $8M below the salary midpoint. Teams are required to spend at least $16M below the cap.
If the cap was removed, the floor would likely be removed, and revenue sharing would likely be reduced. None of that would be good for anyone except the few richest owners, who may or may not even benefit from it.
I don't think we have to worry about that eventuality.
Without the Jets in Winnipeg I paid zero attention to the last lockout. Understanding that the salary cap very likely played a big role in getting the NHL back in Winnipeg.
So... if Fehr wins and cap is back.... (unlikely but just speculating)..... what does the league look like.
How much would the big 3 or big 5 increase payroll? 20M - 40M - 60M ??
Would the bottom feeders drop payroll by 15M - 20M each ?
Does a salary cap affect contractual rights ?
Would some teams just fold?
assuming the guaranteed contracts would be a thing of the past in short order.
I would assume that's the NHL's first response would be "you want the cap gone, we want the ability to terminate contracts without penalty (call it the Gomez clause)." Now are they still talking or does the cap 'issues' get dropped? I would assume most NHL players can easily live with the cap as long as they're getting guaranteed contracts, and the split is high enough (ie not 30%).
But if you want to envision a league without the cap. Think of it like this.
Toronto, NYR, Philly, Detroit, Vancouver, Montreal, Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago (all teams with revenues over 110m - per Forbes) would all spend to their hearts content. I'd guess they'd be around 60-90m (dependent on how much the owner wants to add in out of pocket to cover losses). Buffalo might be in there as well as their owner is filthy rich and wants to win. Add in Colorado and anyone else who might have a good core (Edmonton) and is willing to spend money to sustain success for a short period (5-7 years).
The rest of the league would likely be in the 35-60 range as their budget allows. According to Grange and Doug Maclean, it costs ~35m to operate an NHL team per season in non player costs.
I don't think we'd see anyone below 30m again, as the average NHL salary is well over 2m.
However the odds of the NHL ever giving up their cap is next to nothing. They lost a season to get it, and they will hang onto it for dear life. Same goes for linkage (which hasn't really been kind to them due to how it's determined and how high it is).
__________________ "Itís not as if Donald Fehr was lying to us, several players said. Rather, itís as if he has been economical with information, these players believe, not sharing facts these players consider to be vital."