I'm not much for blogging, but I am bored at work and sick of all the junk about it being impossible for the NHL and NHLPA to work out a new CBA, so I figured I would jot down a simple framework over the next few minutes. Comments are always welcomed!
This vision tries to be fair to both sides, but really just simplifies a needlessly complicated pissing match. Let's start, first fact is this is a 10 year agreement with 2 option years (explained later);
The most important point is defining Hockey Related Revenue, this is also the most complicated point that I really don't understand much myself. In order to simplify this as much as possible I feel it best to leave these as they sit with 1 small change. Monies coming to the league that are specifically designed for maintaining a franchise (such as the $25 million from glendale) is not HHR.
Next, revenue sharing and salary cap issues. We need a simple solution to a complicated problem here, fortunately I am very good at that. 70.2 million is a lot of money, and player salaries have gotten out of control so to solve that the annual cap would be reduced to $65 million and frozen for 3.years. To help this transition each team would be granted 1 buyout that would not count against the cap. The bought out player would be paid as if no change was made to their contract (if they had a 4 year deal 3.5, 3.5, 4.5, 4.5 it would be paid exactly that way, just not against the cap). This single buyout could be traded, just like a draft pick. At the end of that buyout said players would be UFA with 1 restriction,they could not sign with the team(s) they played with in 2011-2012 (wouldn't be fair if pit could buyout Sidney Crosby's 8.7 million and then re-sign for 1.5 milion per year). The cap freeze saves the owners a potential 150 million per year. Any additional money necessary for league operations must be met with matching revenue sharing from the top 10 earning teams. If the NHL says it needs 200million more, the rich teams (leafs, habs and Bruins) better be ready to pony up. In year 4 the salary cap would readjust to 53% of league revenues either up or down doesn't matter 53% and then frozen for 3 more seasons. 3 years later it readjusts to its final 50/50 split but no more cap freeze,each year it changes based on HHR for the next 4 years. The last 2 years as options require a small explanation. The first option year is mandatory in the event that a new CBA cannot be worked out in the course of the regular off season. The second option year is at the discretion of both sides, or mandatory in the event of an impending work stoppage, though if after 11 years time neither side can agree on a new CBA the league should be disbanded frankly.
Next! Cap circumvention and contract length. This is a much more difficult subject because I think players should be able to sign these long term deals to stay where they want to play. On the other hand, some teams use them to cheat the system (that means you Philly, NYR, LA). The only options I see are either limit term lengths to 5 years (not a fan friendly deal), or make it so that contracts are paid out according to AAV or that no year is less than 30% of the highest paid year (if a contract is 10 years for 60 million it must be paid at 6/yr or if there is a year of 10 million, the lowest year must be 3 million). This area could use some more exploration and input, but as departure points are very solid.
ELC and salary arbitration.
5 year ELC seems on the surface like a good idea, but it seems really harsh for a bunch of players. Could you imagine Stamkos or Tavares stuck on a 5 year ELC? It's good for business in controlling costs but punishes the elite players. As a compromise let's make it 3 with a 4th year option. As for arbitration it is terrible and awful for everyone but it is necessary for players and owners to get a chance at fair pay, and remember teams can walk away from it. If the league is dead set on no arbitration then make all ELC deals 5 years but get rid of RFA, serve 5 years and then hit the open market. Fair?
Overall, this agreement serves 2 purposes it solves (or tries to) the current money issue over time (fairly) and it forces good labour relations down the throat of both sides. Nobody can have everything the trick is to make it so each side gets enough to be happy, or completely bitter, both work.