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NHL Lockout Watch 2012: Negotiations as of October 18

The NHL's latest offer moves closer to the players' wish list.


The offer tabled by the NHL on October 16 is a proposed six-year deal. The players countered two days later with a series of five-year proposals. Here are the basics:

A 50/50 Split

Previously, NHL owners had demanded the players' share of league revenues be reduced from the current 57 per cent to 47 or even 43 per cent.

Now they are proposing an even split of revenue. The 50/50 arrangement is where many observers have assumed a compromise would be found.

In 2011-12, the players took home 57 per cent of total revenue. So a 50/50 split still represents a significant reduction.

In principle, the players have agreed to 50/50. But while the owners want that split to take effect immediately, the players want a gradual reduction that would bring them to 50 per cent in five years.

The NHL says the NHLPA math is flawed (in part because it assumes revenue growth every year). But beyond the difficult details, the 50/50 revenue split has been agreed to.

Salary Cap Transition Year

The NHL proposal sees the salary cap for 2012-13 set at $59.9 million, with a floor of $43.9 million.

Because so many teams are already over $59.9 million, teams would be allowed to exceed the cap and go as high as $70.2 million for the 2012-13 season. In all subsequent years, teams would have to comply with the new salary cap.

Media reports indicate that the latest NHLPA proposal does not address specific salary cap numbers.

No Salary Chop

The NHL says all existing contracts will be honored at full value. In previous proposals, the owners wanted contracts rolled back to match the reduction in the players' share of revenue.

To fit existing contracts under the new salary cap, the NHL says some players will see their pay reduced for two years. Those salaries will be "made whole" via deferred payments in future years.

The players object to the league's "make whole" formula. NHLPA exec Don Fehr says the deferred payments would ultimately come from the players' share of revenue, essentially stealing it from future players and future contracts.

But both sides have agreed, in principle, that current contracts will not be rolled back.

New Limits on Contracts

According to the NHL, all future contracts would be limited to a maximum of five years. During the life of a contract, the annual salary can increase or decrease no more than five per cent from year to year.

The NHLPA is opposed to any such limits.

Retaining Salary on Traded Players

The NHL proposes that when trading a player, a team could retain half of that players' salary and salary-cap charge, up to a maximum of $3 million per year.

A team could carry no more than two such contracts in a season, with a total value not exceeding $5 million.

Media reports indicate that the latest NHLPA proposal does not address this.

Unrestricted Free Agency

Under the league's proposal, an NHL player would qualify as an unrestricted free agent at the age of 28, or after 8 seasons (whichever comes first). The current UFA threshold is 27 years old or 7 seasons.

The NHLPA is opposed to any change in free agency.

Entry-Level Contracts

The league wants entry-level deals reduced to two years instead of three years.

There's no indication that the NHLPA has addressed this.

No Burying Contracts in the AHL

In a significant change from the old CBA, the league says the salary of an NHL player sent down to the American Hockey League should continue to count under the salary cap of his NHL team.

There's no indication that the NHLPA has addressed this.

Revenue Sharing

The latest NHL proposal promises $200 million in revenue sharing between teams every year.

In an earlier proposal, the NHLPA included a formula that set a $250 million target for shared revenue.

Current revenue sharing is estimated at around $150 million.

A Full 82-game Schedule in 2012-13

The league wants the 2012-13 season to begin November 2, with the end date pushed from April 11 to the end of the month.

Bettman says the league's offer is contingent on an 82-game schedule. He estimates negotiations would have to conclude within "nine or ten days" to ensure a November 2 season opening.

Details gathered from assorted media sources.

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