Lockout Over… Tentatively

Blues fans, what better to start a Sunday morning than waking up to the news that the NHL and NHLPA have come to a tentative agreement.  According to TSN, the deal is a 10 year CBA, with an opt-out clause after 8 years.  To get the deal done, the NHL surrendered on the salary cap for next season, agreeing to a $64.3 Million dollar upper limit with a $44 million floor.

Here are the rest of the details from TSN’s Aaron Ward:

“- The players’ share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years.

– The league coming off their demand for a $60 million cap in Year 2, meeting the NHLPA’s request to have it at $64.3 million – which was the upper limit from last year’s cap. The salary floor in Year 2 will be $44 million.

– The upper limit on the salary cap in the first year is $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million (all pro-rated). The cap floor will be $44 million.

– The 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.

– Each team will be allowed two amnesty buyouts that can be used to terminate contracts after this season and next season. The buyouts will count against the players’ overall share in revenues, but not the team’s salary cap.

– The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.

– A player contract term limit for free agents will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.

– The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.

– Supplemental discipline for players in on-ice incidents will go through NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan first, followed by an appeal process that would go through Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, a neutral third party will decide if necessary.

– Revenue sharing among teams will spread to $200 million. Additionally, an NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million is included.

– Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration if the award is at least $3.5 million.

– The NHL had hoped to change opening of free agency to July 10, but the players stood firm and it remains July 1 in the new agreement. But with a later ending to the season, free agency for this summer will start at a later date.”

Basically what this means is that in two weeks we will see a shortened season start, and not have to worry about another lockout for 8-10 years.

For Blues fans, it means that in just two weeks we will see number 91 (Tarasenko) suit up as a rookie for the St. Louis Blues as a top contender for the Calder.  It also means that a St. Louis Blues team will have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup, and a very good chance at that.  With players like Langenbrunner, McDonald, and Nichol aging, the Blues will have a chance to take advantage of the shortened season.  Also, for a Blues team that is prone to injuries, it will give them a shorter season to try and stay healthy.  All of this could add up to a run to the cup final which is something the Blues have done in a very long time.

For now, we will wait for the NHL Board of governors and the NHLPA to officially vote and approve the CBA, for a schedule to be set, and for the season to start.  Let’s dust off the Central Champs banner from last season, put it in the rafters, and make our way to the Stanley Cup!  As always, LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan