A Little CBA with A.B.
By Alan Bass
With the current collective bargaining agreement coming to a close at the end of the 2010-11 season, the negotiations will start up yet again when this season ends.
And we all remember how the last negotiations turned out, right?
If I may: Hoo boy…
Since the negotiations will most likely be as intense as last time, if not more so, why not take the time to go through the major points of discussion that will be brought up over the next few years?
Compensation Percentage - Since the last CBA was reached, player salaries have risen from 54 to 57 per cent of League revenues. The League will desperately attempt to lower this back down to the 54 per cent that was originally in play, after the 2005 lockout.
Contract Terms - With Rick Dipietro getting the 15-year contract, and players like Mike Richards, Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell and numerous others signing huge extensions, it brings to question whether or not the League should cap the length of a contract extension.
Consider this unorthodox example: In EA Sports’ NHL games (since NHL 09), the maximum contract length you can offer to a free agent or a member of the team is six years. True, there are probably numerous reasons for this, due to coding, cheating and others that no one can think of.
But think how realistic this is? Why wouldn’t the League want shorter contracts?
It would decrease the amount of money thrown around, and certainly would decrease the amount of guaranteed money that can be offered to a player.
Less money means more profits.
Unrestricted Free Agency – In the 2005 CBA, the agreed rule stated that a player becomes an unrestricted free agent at age 27, rather than age 31 (as was originally the rule).
What about Jay Bouwmeester being a UFA at age 25, you say? Well, the rule also states that if you play at least seven seasons in the NHL, you are also eligible for unrestricted free agency.
NHL GMs do not like this rule at all, as it drastically raises salaries and prevents teams from keeping core players in their organization.
Let’s be realistic here: What player would turn down a chance at unrestricted free agency and multi-millions just to stay in the city he is in? Would you rather make $2 million in the city you’re currently play, or $4 million in another city? I thought so.
Olympic Participation - Players want to go in 2014, the League doesn’t. Who is going to win this seemingly endless argument?
Cap Count - Right now, minor pro compensation and signing bonuses for players in the minors aren’t factored into the salary cap hit. This allows teams to keep more players on their roster and sign more players at a time. The League will try to dispute this, as it believes signing bonuses and such are used unfairly, in order to prevent teams from loading up a signing bonus and skimping on the part that counts against the cap.
Revenue Sharing - Do top teams want to keep bailing out bottom teams? Toronto, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and Montreal may say no, but I’ll bet Phoenix, Florida, Tampa Bay and Nashville say yes.
NHL owners will claim that it is not the responsibility of the higher-tiered teams to bail out the lower-tiered teams.
The NHL’s response? Look at the NFL. Revenue sharing in that league is 100 per cent equal. Revenue is evenly distributed among all 32 teams, no matter what. And look how well that league is doing!