Almost a month after the NHL gave the NHLPA their initial proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement, the players revealed their first proposal toward a new CBA. The players make some interesting concessions and proposals to work their way to a new deal. The bullet points of the deal are as follows:
- The players proposed to take less hockey related revenues over a three year period with an option for a fourth year, instead of the seven year deal the league had proposed. The fourth year would have the CBA revert to the current deal that is now in place.
- In return for less revenue, the players are proposing a better revenue sharing between the teams.
- The players have kept the hard salary cap in place with some exceptions, including the ability to trade cap space to other teams. (Source)
More thoughts after the jump.
This deal is meant to keep stability among the current teams that are in the league and give the league and players a few years to be able to evaluate the landscape and come to terms for a longer deal later. The players automatically come out looking like the heroes in this scenario. By agreeing to lower revenues in their calculation of the salary cap, they are showing that they want to make a deal without having any sort of delay.
The concession on the league's part comes in the revenue sharing, which is going to pit the large and small market teams against each other. Teams like Nashville, Phoenix, Florida, and Buffalo to a small extent have been beneficaries of the current revenue sharing proposal and those funds have helped keep those teams competitive. The large market teams, Philadelphia, Toronto, and the Rangers, are not going to be happy to cut into their profits to shell out more money to these small market teams. The major question on this proposal is whether the owners are going to be split down the middle on the enhanced revenue sharing or whether they will stand with a united front. Pitting the owners against each other should give the players the upper hand, which is the same tactic the league used on the players in 2004.
The fact that the players' proposal is a short term deal isn't something that the league is going to want to implement. The longer the deal between the league and the players, the more stability that it creates for everyone involved. The players aren't going to be willing to take as large of a pay cut for a longer period of time so those numbers are going to be hashed out.
The players didn't make any changes to the current status of free agency and length of contracts, which makes sense because of the fact that they have it pretty good at the moment. This is compared to the extended entry-level deals and restricted free agency that the league proposed in their initial proposal.
The league and the players will come back to the table today to start to hash out the differences between the proposals. The players have already said they want to make a deal and they have 31 days to get something worked out with the league before the current CBA expires. Depending on the rhetoric coming out of the meetings in the next few days should signal how the long the negotiations should take.