Daly defends free agent spending, NHL revenue Staff

7/16/2008 6:05:43 PM

After over $300 million was spent on the opening day of NHL free agency on July 1, some people wondered what the lockout accomplished. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly took to the airwaves in Vancouver to defend the league.

Daly told the Team 1040 in Vancouver that losing the entire 2004-05 season was worth it - financially.

"It achieved, for us, a rational relationship in the amount of dollars we pay out on a yearly basis to players and the amount of revenues we take in as a league." Daly told the Team 1040. "That was the goal from the start, and now we have an enforceable relationship between our salaries and our revenues at this point, and that's what we were trying to achieve."

Since the lockout, the NHL salary cap has risen from $39 million in 2005 to a maximum of $56.7 million for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

The Vancouver Canucks' two-year, $20 million offer to Mats Sundin and some of the other big money deals this offseason still don't worry Daly, who said that individual salaries have not gotten out of control.

"I don't think so.  Again, the lockout and the collective bargaining negotiations weren't about individual player salaries, per se."  Daly told the Team 1040.  "If we have the revenues to support them (salaries), then we want them as high as possible.  Salaries, ultimately, are a reflection of how well the business is doing on the revenue side.  We're generating about 600 million extra dollars in revenue than we were going into the lockout, and that's where you see an increase in player payroll."

Daly also disagrees with the belief by some that the rise of the Canadian dollar has been a major factor in revenue growth.

"It's factor, but it's clearly not the main factor," Daly told the Team 1040.  "From last year to this year, we saw about 12% revenue growth, and about 3% of that was due to the Canadian dollar, and this year was the only year in which the valuation of the Canadian dollar played a factor in our revenue growth. So we've seen some healthy revenue growth, and I expect to see it going forward.  And again, that's a good thing for business."