Normally I walk home from work, but today I got a ride after hearing the NHL‘s latest proposal to the NHLPA. I wanted to get home as soon as possible so I could write up an article about the deal, what it means and how finally as fans of hockey and the NHL, we could feel optimistic about an 82-game 2012-13 NHL season or just a season in general.
I’ll be the first to admit that I hate numbers and more importantly I hate collective bargaing agreement negotiations. So, while the latest offer excites me and I was in a rush to get the news on our site, the thought of having to describe it and then analyze it is not something I was looking forward to. Thankfully one of our awesome writers has already done it. Tony Notarianni wrote a wonderful article breaking down the NHL’s most recent proposal and you can read it in its entirety HERE.
Here is a brief look at Tony’s description of the NHL’s new proposal to the player’s union:
“1. Even split of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR). This is still a big change from the current 57% (Players)-43% (Owners) split, but it is improved over the NHL’s previous offers.
2. Some protection on players’ salaries in first year where any losses would be paid back over remaining years of the player’s deal. Need more details on this, but it looks to be a positive step.
3. Free Agency starts at 28 years of age or eight years of service. Currently free agency begins at 27 years of age or seven years of service.
4. Entry level contracts go to four years in length from three years.
5. Revenue sharing of approximately $200 million.
6. Maximum contract length of five years.
7. NHL Players who are “buried” in the minors would have their salary count against the cap. Not sure if this is being grandfathered in or not (i.e. Wade Redden).”
Nice work Tony, easy to read and very concise. So, while we can see the NHL is conceding with the HRR, its important to note that the league could still be getting roughly over a billion dollars in hockey related revenue (not taking into account potential league growth) over the course of this new CBA offer if it is indeed accepted. Clever move by the NHL as most fans/people will see 50/50 and assume its a fair deal. 50/50 is the universal sign for fair after all. Its safe to say this was a calculated move in the ongoing public relations battle being waged by these two sides and now the pressure to get a deal done has gone from being on the league, to being squarely on the shoulders of the NHLPA. I can hear people now, “How can the players not accept a 50/50 deal?”
While conceding on the HRR was a smart move, the NHL has not lowered its stance on 5-year max contracts. 5-year max contracts doesn’t really give teams the chance to lockup their young stars or franchise players long-term, but that could be a good thing sometimes (see: Roberto Luongo & Wade Redden among others).
The NHL also does not want players to become unrestricted free agents until after at least 8 years of NHL service or they are 28 years old or older. Furthermore, the NHL proposed entry level contracts will be a minimum of 4 years, which is a year longer than the current 3 year ELC’s as mentioned by Tony. This is where the NHLPA will most likely have its biggest problems with the new deal and probably where they will begin renegotiating or countering this deal. The 4 year ELC and new RFA proposals could also deter Europeans from coming to the NHL as it takes away any leverage they would/could have unless they are over the age of 28. They already don’t have much leverage and its a pain to deal with the RFA restrictions and ELC’s and now the NHL is attempting to tack on another year to each.
I like this new deal as a solid starting point for negotiations. I don’t believe it will be accepted but I also don’t think it should take very long for both sides to come to an agreement using this offer as a starting point. TSN’s Bob MacKenzie “guesses” we should have some serious talks going on over the next 7-8 days. I’d agree with but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for sooner and praying it’s not any longer.
Finally, we also found out today that both sides would like to have an 82 game regular season in 2012-13. In the NHL’s new proposal the season would have to start November 2nd, there would be no rollbacks on player salaries, one week worth of training camps for teams and teams would play an extra game every fifth week to make up for the lost games. So, while there is cause for hope with the NHL’s newest proposal, lets not get too excited. Roughly 100 days into negotiations we may finally have a real negotiation. Your move NHLPA.