Before we start to focus in on next season, we have to remember that until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is accepted by the NHL and players, that season is in jeopardy. The NHL owners recently submitted their first proposal to the Players’ Association, and are requesting quite a few changes to the existing format. Here are just a few of the more egregious requests:
- 1. Reduce players’ hockey related revenues from 57 to 46 percent.
- 2. Require 10 seasons in the NHL before a player can become an unrestricted free agent
- 3. All contracts to be limited to five years, while eradicated salaries are to be outlawed (front-loaded or back-loaded contracts will no longer be allowed. For example, a 16 million dollar contract over four years will pay exactly four million each year.)
- 4. Entry level contracts will be extended from three to five years
Clearly, all of these proposals are greatly slanted to the benefit of the owners, who in this case have all of the leverage. Owners do not want the league to become like the NFL or MLB, where players rule the roost and teams are commonly forced to cave into their demands. However, the players will without a doubt reject each of these proposals, as the NHL is again trying to flex its muscles and further diminish player power, even after garnering the largest revenues in NHL history (3.2 billion) last season. This will be something to watch over the coming months, and hopefully it will be resolved before the start of the regular season.