The NHL has sent the NHLPA a new proposal. Will it be enough to end the lockout?

Pierre Lebrun outlined all the points here…

Here is a quick breakdown from some of the points that Lebrun outlined:

• Ten-Year Agreement (through 2021/22 season); Parties have mutual opt-out right
after 8 years.

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I still see the NHLPA wanting 8 year deal.

• $300 million in “Make-Whole” payments (outside the system) to compensate Players
for the reduced value of Player contracts in the early years of the new CBA.

What? I thought this was off the table. We knew it would be back and it is.

• No contractual “roll backs” of Player Salaries.

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I’d like to see the details of this offer. The devil is in the details when it comes to rollbacks.

• Clubs can operate with an effective Upper Limit of $70.2 million in 2012/13; must
come into compliance with $60 million Upper Limit for the start of the 2013/14

This should make for an interesting summer of 2013 when some teams will have to trade some big tickets.

• Each Club will be entitled to execute up to one “Compliance Buy-Out” prior to the
2013/14 season pursuant to which payments made to the Player will not be charged
against the team’s Cap, but will be charged against the Players’ Share.

It will be interesting to see if the NHLPA agrees to this being part of their share. It would be a fan’s delight to see which teams will jump at this "buy-out" opportunity…Interesting to note that this option will occur this coming summer, not in January.

• Rules for Entry Level System, Salary Arbitration and Group 3 Unrestricted Free
Agency will remain unchanged.

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Players will keep 3-year entry level deal.

• Maximum contract length of 6 years subject to a Club’s ability to re-sign its own
Player for a term of up to 7 years (provided the Player played his last full season
with the re-signing Club). In addition, year-to-year Salary variability will be limited
(up or down) to no more than 10% of the value of the first year of a multi-year SPC.

Geez, where have I heard about this? I’ve said for months this was an easy solution. Only the stars deserve seven-year deals, and this also encourages players and teams to re-sign their top talent. I guess the NHL wasn’t willing to "Die on this Hill."

• Money paid (above a defined threshold) to Players on NHL SPCs in another
professional league (e.g., the AHL or a European league) will be charged against the
NHL team’s Cap, but not against the Players’ Share.

Basically stops teams from hiding "Wade Redden" in the minors. Means teams have to be smarter with who they sign. Well, at least in theory.

• Ability for Clubs to retain/allocate Salary and Cap Charges in the context of Player
Trades within specified parameters.

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Brian Burke has pushed this for years. It could lead to more trades which is more entertaining for fans, but more trades isn’t something the players love. It is hard on their families, but I suspect this will be part of the new CBA.

• Flexibility-related adjustments to Payroll Range System, including:

  • Lower Limit obligation without performance bonuses.
  • Elimination of Re-Entry Waivers.
  • Creation of Salary Cap exceptions for emergency roster situations/goaltender injuries
  • Waiver exemptions for mid-season signings of Club’s own European Players.
  • Availability of Performance Bonus Cushion in every year of the CBA.
  • Creation of “interview period” for Unrestricted Free Agents.

The last point is interesting. Essentially free agents would be able to talk to teams starting July 1st, but they couldn’t officially sign until July 10th. The NBA does this, but I think it makes free agency somewhat anti-climactic. Although it might be beneficial for players to have more time to go to a city and meet the coach, see the city and make a decision.

I just used July 1st as an example; I’d love to see free agency start before the draft. If I was in charge I’d have free agency start June 25th, and then hold the draft around July 5th-7th. Having the draft after free agency would see more trades occur on the draft floor after teams didn’t land the free agent they were looking for.

I commend the NHL for offering the following issues. Player safety is a major concern and something the league needed to improve. I’d love to see more strict/frequent drug testing.

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• New CBA Article devoted exclusively to Player Health and Safety measures and
covering such matters as:

      1. The establishment of a Joint NHL/NHLPA Health and Safety Committee with
      equal representation from the NHL and the NHLPA;
      2. The establishment of “Standard of Care” and “Professional Duty” obligations
      owing from team health care professionals to Players;
      3. The establishment of minimum requirements for “health management” staffing
      and resources;
      4. The establishment of standards for the creation, updating and maintenance of
      Electronic Medical Records for Players;
      5. Improvements to Second Medical Opinion procedures and protocol and
      Fitness to Play determinations;
      6. Implementation of additional steps and safeguards to monitor the use (and
      possible misuse) of prescription medication by Players.
      7. Increased flexibility for Players for rehabilitation of injuries during the offseason.

• Completion of expert third-party review of SABH Program and commitment to make
recommended modifications and improvements, as appropriate.

• Improvements to existing Performance Enhancing Substances Program, including:

      1. Expansion of Prohibited Substances List to include illegal stimulants;
      2. The establishment of testing protocol for HGH;
      3. Varied forms and times of testing throughout the year;
      4. The establishment of protocol for “reasonable cause testing”;
      5. Incorporation of agreed-upon appeal procedures from “positive” test results;
      6. Commitment to work with the AHL and the PHPA to expand Program to cover
      AHL Players.

• Implementation of a weighted Draft Lottery in which all non-Playoff teams compete
for opportunity to choose first overall in the annual Draft.

The % of this weighted lottery is the key point. If the 14th place team has a 1% chance then it isn’t much of a change. But if the worst team only has a 20-25% chance, down from 48%, then that is significant. I’m not certain teams lose on purpose. I’m not sure I want a team with 94 points, missing playoffs by one and then getting a signifcant shot to draft 1st overall.

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The key is what the % will be.

• Exclusive negotiating rights window for European Draftees extended to one period
covering four years, instead of two periods covering two years each.

Interesting. I like this proposal.

• Modification to “Four-Recall Rule” to remove limitation on “number of transactions”
following the Trade Deadline; replace with limitations on the total number of Recalls
on roster at any one time after the Trade Deadline.

Love this idea. I’ve always thought it was dumb to not allow teams to give more players a taste of the NHL late in the year. Of course, some will argue this is an easy way to "tank" the season, and that is concern, but a team would need a lot of injuries to really load up their roster with AHL-caliber players.

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There are more points in Lebrun’s article, if you want to see all of them.

Does this proposal give you hope?

More importantly will the NHLPA seriously consider it, and will they come back with a realistic counter-proposal?

  • John Chambers

    They’re too close to not make a deal that is, at the very least, very similar to this proposal. Mid-January season start. The Oil are going to be ready to roll.

  • Dawn

    Don’t see anything that’s going to help the financially deficient teams out much. What’s 10 mil off the cap really going to do for a team that’s losing 25 mil a year. Seems to me omitting to address the root causes of this lockout is all but guaranteeing another lengthy lockout upon expiration of the CBA.

    • Bucknuck

      I believe their idea of a lower cap, while not rolling back current contracts, will help get teams losing money better players. These players will then be a marketing tool to help get more interest in the team.

  • T__Bone88

    I would assume that for the draft lottery the NHL copies the same formula as the NBA.

    It would be a nice idea to allow cash in trade transactions like the MLB. This current proposal I can’t see how the NHLPA loses and hopefully only a few things get tweaked.

    Schultz could possibly claim being an innovator for the UFA interview week process. Although I will miss the annual waking up in the morning cracking a beer and turning on TSN for free agency frenzy.

    • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

      Without a doubt. They played the fans that believed in playoffs.
      Montreal was the first ” Dungeon Diver”. G.M. at the time alluded to the Cellar Dweller race .

    • Bucknuck

      Whatever the reason, rewarding the poor management and quitting of the likes of Kevin Lowe should not ever happen.

      I think every team that doesn’t make the playoffs should get one lotto ball for the top 14 picks. The 16 playoff teams should also draw for the next picks.

      I then propose the 2nd, 4th and 6th rounds go in reverse order of the standings to reward the teams that try and win.

  • Let’s just hope all the rhetoric and ego’s driving this league into the ground can just finally stop.
    Come together and be better, close the doors and don’t say a word until this CBA is complete, the less that’s said in public the better.

    The damage is done. I was once empathetic towards the owners, if I had to guess, I would say two or three franchises will move in the not too distant future.

    As a huge fan of the Oilers and the game, I can’t believe how apathetic I have become.

  • “I’m not certain teams lose on purpose”?. Seriously? Doesn’t the Keystone Kop effort at winning that the Oilers have employed for the past few seasons amount to losing on purpose? Come on. Also, anything proposed by the league around “player safety” is actually aimed at limiting their legal liability in class action or other lawsuits. Don’t expect the NHLPA to be gung ho about player safety provisions when they really mamount to intrusion on the player’s privacy and rights. Yet another example of Gary Bettman trying to ram something down the players throats when he thinks they are desperate or stupid

  • Dawn

    It looks like a proposal of hope!. Also looks like a proposal that Bettman wants to get back to playing hockey. I am sure Fehr will define areas of “great concern to NHLPA”, as he always will. I think his main aim is to rid of the salary cap. If this offer will not make it close, than nothing will.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    This all looks good to me but so did the other offers. I’m mad at both the NHL and NHLPA. I want them to cancel the season out of spite. I hope that Fehr spins this back to the “union” as a bad deal and they fire him. And I hope that the owners remove Bettman from his position for his incompetence.

    The worst part is that as an individual fan I’m powerless to do anything but sit back, watch and evaluate the choices from my living room.

    Either way, I’m not paying to watch a game during the 2012-13 season.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Generally, I like the offer. I think though that the sudden drop to $60 Million will be tough for the players to stomach.

    The 2012-13 salaries have been set at about $72 Million based on 2011-12 revenues of $3.3 Billio. Using 2011-12 figures, the NHL’s goal of 50% of revenues to salaries would be about $55 Million per team. It might be more palatable to set 2013-14 salaries at $65 Million, then adjust 2014-15 salaries to 50% of 2013-14 revenues. That would give teams and players a bit more time to adjust and if revenues recover and increase above the 2011-12 level, than the cap might not drop down to $60 Million.

  • Early feedback on twitter has some people saying the NHLPA thinks the NHL hasnt altered its stance too much. That said, considering there was so little separating the two sides I think thats to be expected.

    If I were an NHL player I would be wondering why I gave up a month’s worth of paychecks for this offer. Is it that much better than what was offered in early December? Heck, I’d be asking myself if this deal was worth the 800 million or so dollars the NHLPA has lost in wages so far. For Nugent Hopkins or Hall it might be worth the fight because they will almost certainly have careers longer than the term of the CBA, but the average NHLPA member has gained very little compared to what he’s lost.

    I’m not a fan of changing the lottery. The lottery has done a good job of providing poor teams the chance to find good and marketable players for their franchises. Opening it up to ALL non-playoff teams defeats the real purpose. It raises a little more excitement at TSN’s annual Tambellini and Friends TV Special, but who really wants to see the 9th team in the West pick Nathan MacKinnon 1st Overall while legitimately poor teams with no fans in the buildings get the shaft?

    I’m fine with the Interview Period, but I hope its just 2-3 days and not 10. 10 days is way too long. Does the NHL really think that 2 weekends into July the average fan is going to care if Erik Cole re-signs with Carolina for the 7th time in 4 years? And by day 2 Darren Dregger will tell us who is signing where anyway. The next 8 days will just be us speculating if MAYBE THIS TIME Eklund has it right and Malkin is about to be traded to the Oilers.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Appears as though the NHL has backtracked considerably from its initial desires. Not alot of progress will be realized with a version of this latest offer.

    Trash the whole season/burn it to the ground and do/fix what needs to be done. Hard line 50/50.

    Bettman and Daly should’ve insulted the PA by going for a version of non gauranteed contracts as well, if only to be the first to be surrendered in negotiations. Float it this time and go hard after it in 10 yrs during the next CBA.

  • vetinari

    If this offer doesn’t do it, then nothing will… the only thing that I don’t like is the draft lottery provision… I could live with all 14 teams participating in it but don’t allow any teams to move up more than 5 spots.

  • Oilertown

    So it appears the players have gotten their way again and the owners are too weak willed to fix their industry.

    Expect owners to continue to demand taxpayer subsidies for the next eight years until the next work stoppage. There will be another stoppage necessary to fix the systemic problems of this next CBA. Fools.

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    Yea the NHLPA will counter with some stupid over the top addition……. and blow-up will be even more catastrophic than the last go around.

    This is a mere ploy by the NHL to position itself for the eventual court proceedings! They know that the union will come up with some retarded counter proposal that will leave them with the ammunition needed for the court battle.

    If you want to see an example of exactly how stupid their requests can be just listen to Nick Kypreos, their unofficial mouthpiece. His reason for keeping Winnipeg in the southeastren conference is “it’s a condition of employment”

    With that kind of collective unintelligence, it’s no wonder we are where we are.

  • Bucknuck

    I wonder if I will care enough to start up a pool with my buddies even if this is signed. I have definitely felt ‘meh’ about the whole shee-bang as more time has passed.