The players union unveiled a new CBA offer this morning. It is fairly comprehensive and, unlike some of their previous offerings, has a sound basis for negotiation (from a league perspective, naturally).
The most significant movement is on the issue of player share of hockey reltaed revenue. The players accept an immediate 50/50 with the stipulation that the teams "make whole" existing contracts to he tune of $393 million spread over four years:
- 2012/13 $ 182 M
- 2013/14 $ 128 M
- 2014/15 $ 72 M
- 2015/16 $ 11 M
That number and schedule represents the first potential tripping point. The second is an additional provision that "in years two through five of this Agreement, the players’ share in dollars may not be less than it was in the previous year." Meaning the players want guaranteed protection in case of negative growth (perhaps in response to this lock-out?). While the league grew at about 6-7% annually under the previous CBA and both parties have been assuming about 5% growth this time around, I doubt the owners will accept that sort of clause to slip through the cracks. If the fans take an extended hiatus from the game in response to this labour strife or if extrenal economic forces put downward pressure on the NHL’s revenue growth, then the players split of the revenue in years 2-5 necessarily climbs above 50% as a result of this guarantee.Related, the PA demands the upper cap limit not fall below $67.25M in any years of the agreement.
The NHL will likely negotiate off of the "make whole" request, but expect them to reject a guaranteed players share out of hand.
Other interesting bits
– NHL re-entry waivers eliminated, so teams can recall guys who have been sent to the minors without fear of them being claimed by other teams.
– Contracts over $1M that are relegated to the minors or Europe will count against a team’s caps but not against the players share.
– Clubs may not buy-out players whose cap hit is below $3M.
– An elimination of back-diving contracts, but only applicable to deals over 9 years in length and to new contracts signed going forward.
There’s much more, so make sure to click the link to the proposal above.
Overall, there are some obvious problem areas which will require further negotiation to get by: primairly, the players share of monies with the addition of "guarantee" clauses isn’t going to fly. In addition, the union’s rather limp attempt to limit front-loaded contracts probably won’t pass muster either.
Still, it seems there might be a basis for talks here. Now we must wait to see how the league responds this afternoon.