NHLPA mulls proposal that includes a change in stance from the NHL
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:12PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 29, 2012 6:47PM EDT
NEW YORK -- In passing a new collective bargaining proposal across the table Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave the players some food for thought.
The league is still asking for significant givebacks -- approximately US$360 million in the first year alone -- but the offer does seem to suggest the NHL is willing to get creative.
Details of the proposal were provided to The Canadian Press by a source. The NHL has drawn up a six-year deal that includes three years at a fixed salary cap -- similar to the NHLPA's proposal two weeks ago -- before returning to a system where the cap is based on overall league revenues with a 50-50 split.
According to the source, the offer doesn't include rollbacks for current contracts, meaning Sidney Crosby would earn all $104.4 million of the 12-year extension he signed with Pittsburgh earlier this summer and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter could each collect the $98 million they were promised by the Minnesota Wild.
The league's initial offer called for an even bigger reduction in pay and introduced new restrictions on contracts.
"We felt in order to move the process along and hopefully engage the union in a way that would bring a negotiation that had traction we tried to address what we thought the fundamental issues were that they were raising in a way that was structured to hopefully address the way they're looking at the world," Bettman said Tuesday. "I'm trying to get us onto the same page. I'm trying to get us onto a common language and hopefully this will do that."
The NHL Players' Association is expected to provide a response to the proposal on Wednesday afternoon after executive director Donald Fehr and his staff have had time to properly analyze it.
Early indications suggested the players weren't enthused with the deal, with one source noting the league was still asking for a lot of concessions and "just trying to make it easy to swallow."
Two weeks ago, the players offered a deal that would delink salaries from league revenue for three seasons in favour of a fixed salary cap, which would fall at $69 million next season before increasing to $71 million and $75 million. The system would revert to 57 per cent of revenues in the fourth year.
The NHL's latest proposal would call for a dramatic change next season. According to the source, players are being asked to give back 11 per cent in 2012-13, which would set the salary cap at $58 million -- more than $12 million less than where it would have been under the expiring CBA.
While current contracts wouldn't be rolled back like they were in 2005, players would have to pay more in escrow to accommodate for the lowered cap. Modified rules on contracts would also be introduced.
The fixed salary cap would climb to $60 million in 2013-14 and $62 million the following the year, according to the source. In the event that growth exceeded 10 per cent during any of the first three seasons of the deal, those numbers would rise -- something the NHLPA originally tabled as part of its proposal.
Based on league projections for when the CBA becomes a 50-50 split of revenues starting in 2015, the salary cap would reach approximately $71 million in 2017-18.
Overall, the proposal will see players paid $460 million more than the NHL's initial July 13 offer proposed.
The current collective agreement expires Sept. 15 and league has said it will lock the players out if a new deal isn't reached by then.