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NHL outlines key issues for new CBA in first proposal
- Updated: July 14, 2012
The NHL has reportedly submitted an offer to the Player’s Association (NHLPA) for a new collective bargaining agreement for next season that includes several drastic changes.
RDS.ca posted details of the proposal, highlighting changes to many of the issues that the NHL had with the former CBA – changes that show a certain amount of audacity on the NHL’s part.
The NHL-submitted proposal calls for an 11 percent reduction in hockey related revenues for the players from their current 57 percent to 46 percent.
The proposal also puts new sanctions on contracts for all players. Players would need to wait at least 10 years before becoming unrestricted free agents while contracts would have a five-year limit. Entry level contracts would go from three years to five years, and signing bonuses would be eliminated from the equation as well.
These details of the NHL’s proposal solidify months of rumors regarding some of the issues that the NHL would try to address in the new CBA. Imposing contract limits was expected to be a big issue in the new CBA, especially after lifetime contracts were signed by players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Roberto Luongo, Marion Hossa, and now Jonathan Quick and Sidney Crosby. Plus, a term limit would prevent clubs from tapering off dollar amounts to one or two million per season at the end of a player’s contract in order to keep the cap hit lower.
This could also force star players to move around to more markets that they traditionally might not consider. If a big market team like the Rangers doesn’t have cap space to re-sign their players, but the Nashville Predators have the cap space, a player in the prime of his career may look to jump ship and sign with Nashville instead in order to get what he deserves in the open market. While this could help perpetuate league-wide parity, it could also serve as a catalyst to see more Los Angeles Kings-type playoff runs where any team has a shot to win any given series.
Players, however, may be reluctant to agree to something like this if it means relocating their families every five years, or if it means being away from their families for long periods of time.
Subjecting entry-level players to a longer contract term would also give teams a better chance to build a winner before they have to spend big dollars on their up-and-coming star players. The Edmonton Oilers are a great example of this. The team could potentially have three number-one overall draft selections on their roster next season. The problem is that after next season, Taylor Hall, number one pick in 2010, becomes a restricted free agent and will likely get a significant raise. Similarly, the year after that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be in a similar situation with Nail Yakupov following the season after. All of a sudden the Oilers could potentially have a lot of money tied up in just three players with very little money to spend to sign players that would address other needs.
But extending entry level contract terms from three to five years would give a team in a similar situation as the Oilers the chance to put that money elsewhere, say, toward a stud goalie and some defensive depth. It would give them a better chance to put together a winning team before they need to start paying their star players big bucks.
The other major obstacle involves revenue sharing, where the players currently take 57 percent of the pot. The NHL’s offer calls for an 11 percent reduction to 46 percent. While this is a significant and severe call to action, it’s likely more of a negotiating ploy and the two sides will likely meet somewhere in the middle, probably closer to a 50-50 split.
Just because the NHL put this proposal on the table does not mean that these terms as they stand will be included in the new CBA. It’s probably more of a starting point, with the NHL saying ‘these are the issues at hand, this is what we would like to see happen.’ The Player’s Association will return with a counter proposal and they will (hopefully) meet in the middle and hockey will (hopefully) resume next season.
With that being said, it’s up to the players to determine how to react to this proposal. They can view it as a call to negotiate terms for the future, or they can view it as a declaration of war by the NHL, which most certainly could result in a loss of part or all of next season.
If nothing else, the NHL has laid out their big issues regarding the next CBA, and now await a response from the Player’s Association.