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A Bad CBA For The Players

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The greater good was served. A distasteful public dispute in the midst of a pandemic was avoided. The NHL’s next six seasons will be uninterrupted by labor discord. The fans win.

But though decorum was maintained at all times, and material disagreements between the league and the union were generally kept behind closed doors, that did not prevent the NHL from using this COVID-19 crisis to achieve a CBA that comes closest yet to the league’s 2004-05 vision of how its hard cap should function.

The NBA is a players’ league. The NFL is a coaches’ league. The NHL is an owners’ league. Never was that more reinforced than through these negotiations that, truth be told, Gary Bettman and the Board won when they shut down the league 15 seasons ago and minimized if not co-opted, and co-opted if not broke, the union.

The NHLPA bargained itself into stagnating wages for the next four-to-six-to-eight seasons essentially so the players could be in a lower tax bracket. Is that the way you negotiate your contract? The union is not only putting controls on the cap through the pandemic, but throughout the length of the CBA.

So this season, the cap stands at $81.5 million. In 2024-25, there is a chance it could increase to $84.5 million. That represents a 3.68 percent increase in average salary over six seasons. How much — allowing that the economy returns to health once the coronavirus is under control—do you think team valuations will rise over that period?


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


d ca's avatar

Larry completely blew off the fact the NHL salary cap could have dropped to 60-63M next season based on a 50/50 split of 2019-20 revenues. And the 20-21 cap could have gone down further to some predict as low as 36M if no fans are able to attend games and COVID testing and bubble cities are needed.

That is what the players were trying to avoid. Sure, it hurts any player up for free agency paydays that depend on an ever increasing cap. And it hurts teams that signed players to large long term deals like the NYR did with Panarin and Trouba . But it essentially holds players money stagnant instead of taking a buyout or reset to a much smaller cap where they would lose value on their contracts or worse an owners lockout.

Larry like when teams spend to the max because he’s a fan of the NYR. NYR are in cap trouble and are going to lose players probably starting with Fast this year. I get why he doesn’t like the agreement. But for Detroit this agreement is good the only thing better would have been to have a falling cap.

Posted by d ca on 07/12/20 at 01:08 AM ET


It’s not the new CBA that is bad for the players, it’s the pandemic. The leagues revenues took a hit and will continue to take a hit for awhile. If by some miracle they actually recover quick, the cap will go back up. The players got the guarantee that the cap won’t go down the next couple of years while revenue certainly will.

There will be some players that lose out because they are free agents after the season is over and the cap stays flat but that’s the simple economics of this pandemic and has little to do with the CBA. Some of those players will have the option of short-term deals if they want to take a gamble that the cap will grow in a few years.

My biggest problem with Larry as a writer is he always look at things with a Ranger’s slant. The new CBA looks like a good thing all around to me. Obviously the players didn’t hate it or they wouldn’t have agreed to it.

Posted by evileye on 07/13/20 at 04:04 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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