The NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement will soon expire leaving both NHL owners and the NHLPA (NHL Players' Association) scrambling to get a new deal done that satisfies both parties. The first proposal showed the serious issues between the owners and the players and while the initial proposal is clearly one-sided, it can be worked out in time for the next NHL season. These are the biggest issues, the first proposal from the owners, and how they can be worked out:
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1) Owner/Player Revenue Split
Owner's Proposal: Reduce Player earnings from 57% to 46% of league revenue.
Solution: This first proposal suggests the reduction of the players' earnings by 11%. While this seems unfathomable for the players, they must look at the NBA which dropped its players' earnings 12% (also from 57%) in its CBA negotiation last year. Ultimately the solution to this will be a drop in revenue for the players but not by that much. They will be able to compromise at around a 50-50 split.
Proposal: Elimination of Salary Arbitration.
Solution: (See Number 3)
3) Entry Level Contracts
Proposal: Entry Level Contracts would extend from 3 years to 5 years.
Solution: The solution for problems 2 and 3 tie into one solution. While the owners want to eliminate arbitration and extend the length of entry level contracts, the players want just the opposite. One possible solution for these would be to eliminate traditional arbitration for restricted free agents and extend entry Level contracts while allowing a player in an entry level contract to go to arbitration once during his contract. To clarify: An Entry Level Contract would be 5 years long, however a player engaged in one could file for arbitration once if he feels that he is grossly underpaid. This way an organization could maintain a player they draft for a suitable duration while paying him fairly based on what an arbitrator believes he should make based on his performance. The player would also decide when to go to arbitration based on if he felt he had a good year or decline arbitration if he felt he could have a better year and qualify for more money the next year.
4) Length of Contract
Proposal: 5 years would be the maximum contract length.
Solution: At this moment there is no limit to the length of NHL contracts. As a result teams can lure in free agents by offering contracts that extend far beyond their prime to give the player insurance, as well as loading the front of a contract so that a player can get paid in the first few years and then walk away with minimal loss when they wish. The 5 years proposed will never be accepted by the players as it is such a drastic change, but it is a starting point. In reality the 12-15 year contracts are too long(even the 10 year contracts such as that of the Buffalo Sabres' Christian Erhoff) and a reasonable cap on the length could be settled at 7-9 years.[img]
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