Wednesday morning the NHL released all the details of its latest offer. The offer is for a six-year deal with a mutual option for a seventh, includes the 50-50 split on hockey-related revenue for each year and notes that current contracts would not be rolled back. The league would play a full 82-game schedule starting November 2.
Hockey-related revenue has been up for debate during the negotiating process and the league writes, “current HRR Accounting subject to mutual clarification of existing interpretations and settlements.” Additionally, the salary cap for the 2012-13 season would have a $439.9 million floor, 51.9 million midpoint and $59.9 million cap. There are currently sixteen teams sitting above that upper limit. The league, however, is allowing a one-year transition for teams to stay above the upper limit and go as high as the pre-CBA ceiling of $70.2 million. Teams will also be able to trade salary cap space.
Contractual changes are also producing controversies. Entry-level deals would be reduced from three years to two. Also, contracts would have a maximum length of five years. Unrestricted free agency would be either age 28 or eight previous years of NHL service, depending on which comes first. There is a five-year term limit and also a year-to-year value limit that says a player’s contract can’t increase or decrease by more than 5 percent. This is in attempt to put an end to long-term, front-loaded contracts that reduce the salary cap hit.
The NHLPA is not thrilled about this offer but it is definitely a start. Issues such as length of contracts, free agency, and defining hockey-related revenue are without a doubt important but it seems as if owners will eventually give major ground on the vast majority of those issues in order to get the 50-50 split.