NHL, union reach tentative agreement
Jan 6, 2013 at 6:00a ET
Working through the night with the aid of a federal mediator, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to terms on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday to get players back on the ice.
"(NHLPA executive director) Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in New York, according to NHL.com.
According to Canadian cable broadcaster TSN, the league has plans for both a 50- and 48-game schedule, depending on when the two sides formally ratify the deal. A 50-game season could start as soon as Jan. 15.
Among the highlights of the deal are that the players’ share of hockey-related revenue will fall from 57 percent to 50 percent for all years of the agreement. (The agreement has an opt-out deal after eight years.)
Whereas previously the league had no maximum on the length of player contracts, the new deal will limit them to seven years but that increases to eight in the instance of a team re-signing its own player. Also, salaries on multi-year deals for individual players cannot vary by more than 35 percent from year to year and by a total of more than 50 percent for the length of the deal. This will end deals such as that signed by Ilya Kovalchuk with New Jersey in 2010 in which he will make $11.8 million in 2016-17 and as little as $1 million for three straight seasons starting in 2020-21, according to the website CapGeek.com.
Significantly for the league’s small-market teams, revenue sharing reportedly will increase to $200 million per season.
The new agreement sets the salary cap for the 2013 season at $60 million (down from what was set at $70.2 million in June under the old agreement), but, the CBA will allow teams to spend to $70.2 million. The cap floor, which under the former CBA, was always $16 million less than the ceiling, will be $44 million for the ’13 season.
According to CapGeek, the Nashville Predators had committed $54.7 million in salaries to 22 players for the coming season and the Carolina Hurricanes had committed $58.1 million to 23 players (the maximum allowed on rosters).
In the second year of the deal, the cap will be $64.3 million, which was the limit in the 2011-12 season, with the floor remaining at $44 million. The deal also includes provisions entering the coming season for teams to buy out players’ contracts.
In addition, the league’s draft lottery will change. All 14 teams that miss the playoffs will be eligible to win the first overall pick, which was not the case in the past. Also, teams could not fall more than four spots from their original draft order based on their regular season record under the old lottery system. That provision no longer will exist.