NHLPA makes first proposal in CBA negotiations

After a month of conversation in the NHLPA’s camp, they have finally come up with their first proposal in the CBA negotiations Tuesday. The NHL made the first move in offering a completely “wacky” offer that no one in their right mind would agree to. Read the Fang Faction piece on the NHL’s proposal here.

Read the NHLPA’s proposal after the jump.

First off, during this dreadful time of waiting for breaking news about the negotiations, if you have a Twitter, please follow @RenLavoieRDS. Renaud Lavoie works for RDS, the French version of TSN, but does tweet in English as well as French. Lavoie is one of the best in the business and is very reliable.

Just a month ago, I wrote an opinionated story on the NHL’s CBA proposal. This is what I wrote:

There is no way the NHLPA is going to agree in allowing the ownership to change the revenue percentage for the players from the current 57%, to the wanted 46%. It is unrealistic and for the NHL to submit that offer is insane. Luckily, there is plenty of time to negotiate to a fair revenue percentage.

I think that the end result will be close to 50-50 in the percentage, if not 50-50. It will most likely be 49% of the revenue going to the owners and 51% going to the players.

Also, ten seasons to become an unrestricted free agent? I mean come on! That is also unrealistic and is, in most cases, the entire career of an NHL player. The fair amount of years before becoming a UFA is 3 years. Having ten years of not becoming a UFA, for a player, is holding them hostage.

As we all knew, the 13 year contracts offered to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will not happen in the new CBA. The NHL wants to limit the contract length to five years. The NHLPA will most likely counter with an eight year length, then settle for a seven year length.

The salary arbitration is important for a player to settle disputes of a contract between player and general manager and show the value of their playing ability. However, I don’t think it necessary as that could fall on the agent. The mediator isn’t needed to settle out these disputes, they will settle themselves out soon enough.

The entry level offer of five years, instead of three years isn’t good for the players. An entry level deal limits their money and the more the years, the less the money. It doesn’t mean a five year entry level deal will be forced on a player, but opens the opportunities of having that deal.

In my opinion, the five year entry level deal won’t fly and will stay at three years.

Lastly, per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, he tweeted out that the NHL wants to remove signing bonus and have all the years of contract have the same amount of value.

Smart move by the NHL, but eliminating the signing bonus will not happen. In every other sport, there is a signing bonus and the NHLPA won’t allow their players to not have a signing bonus in their contract, if offered. The same amount of money per season should be interesting on how that pans out. I’m not too sure of what the NHLPA will counter to that.

Just before noon ET Tuesday in Toronto, NHLPA Executive Donald Fehr with 27 other NHL players including Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, PK Subban and Steven Stamkos announced their counter proposal.

There aren’t too many details in this proposal, but here is what we know for sure.

  • The offer was made to “produce a stable industry,” – Fehr said.
  • A three-year deal for the new CBA with the option for a fourth year. That option allows the NHLPA the right to go back to 57% of the revenue.
  • The players’ share would jump to two percent in the first season, four percent in the second season and six percent in the third season.
  • Players would get an average increase of $2.02 billion per season.
  • Fehr said, “Players are set to surrender as much as $465 million in revenue under the proposal if the league continues to grow at an average rate.”
  • “That number could balloon to $800 million if the league grows at the same rate it has over the last two seasons,” said Fehr.
  • There will be no removement of a hard salary cap.
  • It calls for a expanded revenue sharing to help NHL teams who are struggling in upwards of $250 million per year.
  • No change in the contract rules from the current CBA.

Not all of the information included in the NHLPA’s proposal has been reported. I will update this list as more news continues to leak out. Here are my thoughts of the proposal:

While Donald Fehr was speaking to the media, one quote stuck out to me. “Players did not believe the owner’s initial proposal was appropriate.” I totally agree with what he said. There is no way that offer was even remotely fair to both sides. It was a ludicrous proposal that shocked everyone, including the Player’s Association.

All in all, I think this was an all around fair deal. It is very nice to see that the players are willing to lose some money. However, there will be a few things that, from an owner’s standpoint, won’t be allowed to happen.

The NHLPA wants the same contract rules, in which would deny the proposal by the NHL’s to the maximum length of a contract to five years. As I said a month ago, I guarantee you they settle on a maximum contract length of either seven or eight years.

Potentially having the players’ revenue percentage go up to, at most, 63% is not possible. I don’t even think the players will stay at 57%, as wanted.

I really do like the idea of allowing an NHL club to receive upwards of $250 million per season, if that club is struggling. This way, it can allow a team who is having a rough time gaining revenue, stay afloat for a while.

As of Tuesday, the NHL and the Player’s Association have to agree to a deal before September 15, because, as the NHL has stated, there will be a lockout if there isn’t a new CBA in place.

Today’s proposal is a step in the right direction for the return of the NHL’s season. Now, there is only a month until a new deal has to be in place in order to avoid a lockout.

Many of you may ask why Gary Bettman set the date of September 15 to be the “lockout day”. It is because players report back to training camp on the 16th.

For those who are much more visual learners, but don’t like to read, here is the video of Fehr talking to the media about the proposal.