What are the biggest issues that need to be resolved in the next CBA?
Lyle Richardson: For the owners, it’s the split of revenue with the players, as they’ll want to reduce it from 57 percent to around 50 percent. They’ll also seek a cap on contract lengths, to close that loophole of heavily front-loading deals to get a friendlier cap hit, and could seek to abolish or restricted movement clauses.
For the players, they hate – HATE – the escrow clause, and will seek to either scrap it or place a cap upon it. I’m of the opinion we could see the players to agreed to a reduction in their revenue share in exchange for elimination of the escrow clause. I also believe the players want to ensure their contracts remain guaranteed and they retain their arbitration rights.
Paul Kukla: First on the table, and I may be in the minority here, is forming a true partnership between the two parties. We still have whatever the NHL says or approves is the law.
Get the players involved more, from disciplinary action to how the new conferences will be setup.
I think the salary cap floor should be dropped but if a team goes below the established floor, they are penalized by having a percentage of revenue sharing held back.
Jesse Spector: Last time, it was about whether to put a salary cap in and “split the pie” a certain way. Now, it’s about how big a slice of the pie it will be, splitting revenues. Realignment also comes on the table, as well as the disciplinary system, which right now the union is unhappy about as a unilateral process. Safety and health issues also will be important, and the league and union have made good progress working on that aspect of the game together. Whether to continue with NHL participation in the Olympics also will be an interesting issue.
Tyler Altemose: There are a few key issues which I think are going to be of vital importance in ensuring that the players and league can come to an agreement on the new CBA. Those issues—or, should I say, the issues that may prove to be the most difficult obstacles to overcome—circulate around the issue of revenue.
On one hand there are issues such as the players’ share of NHL revenues. It’s been steadily growing since 2005, and the league will try to stunt that growth. On the other hand, you have the issue of contracts. The league seems ready to head toward limiting contract length or even making contracts non-guaranteed. This, of course, is not in the favor of the players. It will take coming to a consensus on issues like these for the next CBA to go into effect in time. Both sides must be willing to make compromises.