For the past couple of weeks, the NHL and NHLPA have been “cordially” meeting to begin negotiations on a new CBA. The cordial aspect may be done after news broke last night that the league finally showed their hand. And what does that hand entail:
- Reduction of players hockey related revenues from 57% to 46%.
- Players would need 10 seasons in NHL before being UFA. (Currently they need to either be 27 or accrue only 7 years.)
- Contracts would be limited to 5 years with all five years needing to be the same salary.
- No more salary arbitration.
- Entry-level contracts would be 5 years instead of 3.
I also heard that they are looking to eliminate signing bonuses as well as change the cap ceiling.
When I first read this, I was insulted so I could imagine how the players felt. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize that this is bargaining. This is the first list of requests. I highly doubt the league expects to get everything so might as well shoot for the moon and see what happens.
While we don’t know what the players have countered with, for these five items my guess is this:
- They aren’t happy with #1. Think we can all agree that’s a given.
- Numbers two and five will probably be a fight as well. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if we remain exactly where we are on those two.
- Number three I have no idea what their thoughts are although not sure they would mind having same salary every year. The signing bonus part may be an issue. Honestly, the owners might be throwing that out there to save the GMs from themselves.
- Number four is interesting as that hurts both sides. Pretty sure there is more to that one.
Basically, we’re in for a fight. No one should be surprised by this. The question becomes how quickly do both sides decide they want to be flexible and negotiate. We can all agree a lockout for any length of time would be the worst thing for the league right now. Many people see this as a lockout is guaranteed. Not so sure I agree. The good news is both sides are still willing to meet. Hopefully it stays that way and they work together so that we have hockey in October. Otherwise, no matter what happens there will only be one loser – the fans.