Pros, Cons, and Other Options for a Luxury Tax System in the NHL

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after teammate Patrick Kane #88 scored (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Yes, the easy solution here is to raise the salary cap altogether, making it easier to retain RFAs AND maintain competitiveness for a longer period of time. Every team has an equal chance to ice a competitive roster without having to compensate teams for their lack of drive to be competitive after years of mediocrity. When you hit gems in the draft, you can sign and retain them rather than having to clean house after every successful year.

The Chicago Blackhawks are a perfect example of this as they had to let go of many key members of their championship teams. Dustin Byfuglien, Troy Brower, Andrew Ladd, and more were sent off after the 2010 championship, which led to a retooling process for the next two years. A raised salary cap of 92.5 million dollars rather than adding a 10 million luxury tax would still encourage competitive hockey without compensating for the undriven teams.

To Conclude…

It’s quite easy to see the real, effective answer here. The NHL could raise their horrendously low salary cap a bit to allow teams to be competitive for longer periods of time. Luxury tax systems will compensate owners who just want money while financially costing owners who want to win. It would also cause a massive headache for the league as a whole, especially teams who built their rosters perfectly to fit under the cap AND be competitive. Yes, while the effects of COVID-19 are still lingering, this may not happen for a while, but the league HAS to raise the cap as soon as possible.