On Oct. 16, NHL owners said they were willing to offer a 50/50 split of revenue between players and owners, which would effectively end the lockout and ensure an 82-game season that would begin on Nov. 2.
According to John Shannon of Canada’s Sportsnet, some of the most meaningful issues to note are that contract lengths would be at a maximum of five years and that arbitration periods would still exist. Shannon also mentioned that entry-level contracts would be three years and players would have to wait eight years before unrestricted free agency.
Call it pessimism at its finest, but it’s doubtful that the NHLPA will agree to this deal.
Splitting the revenue definitely sounds and looks fair. And you know what they say: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. However, a seven percent drop of revenue from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement is significant.
The offer puts the players between a rock and a hard place. The NHL now has the upper hand in the PR battle, and like Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News said, releasing the full proposal (which definitely has its kinks, but what doesn’t?) to the public and showing fans what the NHLPA are refusing makes the players look like the bad guys.
Regardless of whether players do agree or not, this isn’t something that will be decided on quickly. With this deal, a 50/50 revenue split could mean that players could lose $1.6 billion in revenue over the course of several years. That’s a ton of money to lose, and it’s understandable the NHLPA would be hesitant to accept this deal.
Otherwise, the rest of the deal seems pretty fair, especially the five-year contract length part.
It would only serve to better the game and teams if players could only be signed to a contract of five years. It isn’t uncommon for players with contracts that are at least seven years long to take a couple of those seasons off and not put in the effort that their talent and skill-level dictates they should.
If you’re a fan of the New York Rangers, you’re all too familiar with this sad, sad reality.
General Manager Glen Sather would sign guys like Wade Redden and Scott Gomez to extremely long contracts, and they never produced. There could have been multiple reasons for their poor performance, but it all came down to the fact that they were doing nothing and the team was stuck with them much longer than wanted.
Five years would be reserved for premier players like Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash. If this were to become the reality, it could pave the way for general managers to become smarter with how they spend their salary cap money and who they choose to spend it on.
In a perfect world, general managers would look closer at the identity of their team and pick the players who fit it, as opposed to players who are just extremely talented.
However, this is idealism and there have been far too many instances of this optimism getting crushed by reality. Skepticism aside, at least something worth discussing has been put on the table.