The NHL's initial proposal in this summer's CBA negotiations with the NHLPA caused quite a stir when some of the details were made public next month. Now it is the players' turn to make a counter-proposal. First, however, they have to sift through over 75,000 pages of the league's financial documents, given to the players last week.
First, it must be noted that, financially, the NHL's first proposal to the players is even more drastic than it first appeared. According to David Shoalts of the Toronto Globe and Mail, if these demands were implemented a year ago, the 740 players currently in the NHL would have seen their compensation collectively reduced by $450 million last year. This would have been accomplished not only by reducing their percentage of overall hockey revenue from 57% to 46%, but by redefining what comprises the "hockey revenue" from which they would draw their 46%.
Under these numbers, the NHL's salary cap would have been $50.8 million (rather than $64.3 million) and the floor at $38.8 million (as opposed to $48.3 million). In terms of how it would affect an individual player, a players making $1 million would have seen their salary reduced to $760,000.
However, on Monday Mr. Shoalts also reported that both the NHL and NHLPA heads agreed that there is time to reach an agreement, despite the fact that the current CBA expires in less than 6 weeks. The next step in the negotiations would be for the player's union to make a counter-offer, but they will not be rushed. They only received the NHL's voluminous financials last week and still need time to go through them in order to make an informed proposal.
Fehr meet with a group of 40 European players earlier in the week in Barcelona, and they expressed some concern that financial issues could prevent the NHL from attracting the world's best players, noting the several NHL players had recently played in Russia's KHL. NHL Deputy commissioner Bill Daly disagreed, saying that "we do not believe any of the proposals we have made to this point would have any material impact on the league's ability to continue to attract the best players in the world."
NHLPA head Donald Fehr is expected to resume talks with the owners today.
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