The NHL CBA negotiations have begun and the the owners have drawn first blood by presenting the NHLPA with an absurd proposal. In all recent CBA negotiations in the NBA, NFL and NHL we have seen the owners want it all and give the players the bare minimum they can get away with. This initial proposal is way off from what will more than likely be the actual agreement between the 2 parties. Some of the highlights of the owners proposal are:
-Reduce the player revenue percentage from 57% to 46%. What this means basically is that the owners only have to spend 46% of their overall revenues on the teams salary. This means that the salary cap would actually have to be lowered quite significantly. Last season on average every team had about $123 million in revenues which made the salary cap about $71 million per team. If this part of the deal were to be enacted in the finalized CBA the salary cap would have to drop to about $57 million. This would in turn cause players to take pay cuts because almost half of the teams in the NHL (13) currently have salaries allocated over that amount. The players took pay cuts to help settle the CBA the year the lockout happened so I doubt they will take the 10% or more pay cut that would be needed to have this part work.
-UFA after 10 years. This yet again is a benefit to the owners as they can more easily keep players that come up through their system on their team longer. The way the UFA is set up now players can test the market, and in lots of cases create bidding wars that allow them to get paid more then their worth, in the prime of their careers. What would most likely happen if this part gets put through is that you would see teams start throwing out offer sheets to players much more frequently. The Flyers would no doubt be the first team to try to outbid a star RFA’s other team. The subsequent result of that would be that teams would largely be unable to afford the hit every year in terms of draft picks that comes with the acceptance of a RFA offer sheet so the penalty for the offer sheet will have to be lessened.
-Max contract length 5 years. This will not allow GM’s to end up in situations like the Islanders are in with Rick DiPietro. It also means that players will have to constantly earn their money by having to get re-upped every 5 years. Players can no longer have a career year and then become a lifer on a team with a 11 or 12 year deal. This is not that bad of an option. Players contract years would come up much more frequently and you would probably see a lot more players testing free agency.
-Every year the player must actually make the same amount. The way the salary cap is structured right now is that the player’s salary cap hit differ from how much money he actually makes that year. If a player is on a 5 year deal worth $25 million then the salary cap hit for that player is $5 million a year, but his pay breakdown may have him making $7 million his first year $6 million his second year and so on. This rule would make the contracts have to match the amount of money the player actually pulls in every year of the deal. I see no purpose in this and it should likely be dropped from the deal.
-No salary arbitration. This will for sure not be included in the finalized deal for the new CBA. This is the way a player gets fair value for his services from his current team in negotiations. If teams could just force a player to take the deal they offer that would disastrous for the players.
-Entry level contracts length extended from 3 to 5 years. This is also insane as it forces players, some superstars like Giroux, to play for league minimum for the first 5 years of their careers. All this does is create less 19 year old millionaires. The players that are stars in the league should be paid like it sooner rather then later.
In the end the 2 sides more then likely meet in the middle and many of these rules will be modified or scratched all together as the players association will not back down from their stance on most of these issues. They have proven before that they have no fear in making a long summer happen.
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