The New CBA

gary_bettman1First off greetings to everyone and welcome to Hockey Land. I’d like to acknowledge my fellow bloggers Pharmaziz and DrJaiKan and I look forward to working with you both on bringing forth engaging discussions and topics in the future. My contributions to this blog will primarily focus on issues in three core subjects as they arise: a) The Edmonton Oilers; b) The Global Hockey Landscape; c) Legal Issues in Sports.

With the NHL lockout coming to a close, what better way to start the the blog than to examine the proposed NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

1. HRR to be split 50-50 amongst players/owners – Pretty much where everyone figured this deal would end up. In short, this has the potential to be an excellent deal for the players. In the last hockey season, the league had revenues of nearly $3.3B.  Between the last 2 lockouts, the league had been growing at a nearly 7% rate. Working with this rate for the next, at minimum, 8 seasons, the players have the potential for a team salary cap of nearly $90M and a floor of approximately $70M by the time we reach the opt-out period, which is frankly, a scary thought for many owners in the current landscape. Of course these revenue projections could be compromised by the all-to-real possibility that many fans in certain US markets don’t return to the game. However, if the league reaches the projections, could we see a situation in a few short years where many low-revenue teams (think Southern US markets) are once again struggling to keep their heads above water?

2. 10 year CBA term length (with opt-out after 8 years) – From a public perception, 10 years appears to appease stakeholders by indicating a stable period for the league. However, it is important to remember there were 8 years between the last 2 lockouts, so an opt-out after 8 years, this same situation has the potential to shoot up in a few short years.

3. 2 Amnesty Buyouts per team – Great for the team who can write-off some poor management decisions, great for the players who can get their pie and eat it too. Of course as these buyouts count towards the overall HRR share of the players, the players are in theory paying for their own buyouts to an extent. Prime candidates for buyouts include underachievers Shawn Horcoff, Scott Gomez, Mike Komisarek, Tomas Kaberle, Wade Redden, Rick DiPietro, and a couple of longshots in Vincent Lecavalier and Jay Bouwmeester.

4. Salary Variance on Yearly Contracts – This was put in place to prevent teams from taking steps to blatently circumvent the spirit of the cap by adding on bogus years to player contracts. This term calls for a maximum yearly salary variance of 35%, with the final year no lower than 50% of the salary of the first year. For example, a player with a 7 year/$35M contract could be paid $10M in each of his first two years, but his last year must be a minimum of $5M.

5. Contract Term Limit of 7 years for FA signings, 8 years for team’s re-signing own players – Bill Daly’s ‘hill that we will die on’ didn’t scare Don Fehr one bit. I think players come out of this quite happy as 7-8 years is still a very large contract length that we rarely see given out, save the odd star young player who teams had been signing to ill-advised contract terms of 8 years+. As UFA eligibility remains at 27, we will likely see a series of young-wave stars signing for the max 8 year term after their ELC, thus still being able to reach UFA status in their prime and shoot for their “3rd contract”.

6. Draft Lottery for all Teams Missing Playoffs – A nice touch, in name. But really, how often do we expect teams outside the top 7-8 to hit the jackpot with their miniscule odds and get the top pick. Could happen, but does anyone really think this would have been put in place if the last 3 first overall picks hadn’t had to hear the phrase: “The Edmonton Oilers, are so proud to select…”. Might as well call this the “780 Clause”.

Your questions and comments are always welcome.

For Hockey Land,

RK, Esq.

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2 responses to “The New CBA

  1. Ultimately, I am not sure which side won the new “CBA,” however what I am sure about is that this CBA was not worth losing 34 games over. The gains made by both sides are not earth-shattering. This is a deal that could and should have been agreed to in June, July or August, and not January. It is embarrassing that we have come to this point, but alas, as long as hockey gets played, a Stanley Cup gets awarded this year, and the sport continues to exist, I will move on.

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