Fans hoping for NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to start making some serious progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement could be very disappointed. According to Eric Francis on CBC’s Hot Stove, the two sides aren’t expected to officially kick off negotiations until after the Stanley Cup finals in June.
The logic is pretty much what you would figure. For the Players’ Association, waiting would allow all players to be fully focus on the process and not just the ones from teams that have already been eliminated. The NHL would also avoid running the risk of the CBA negotiations distracting from the playoffs.
The current CBA runs through September, so even if they wait until June to get the ball rolling, they’ll still have plenty of time to work things out. That being said, if they don’t resolve the issue by July, then GMs could be in an awkward position during this summer’s free agent market. According to Elliotte Friedman, the salary cap could be above $70 million in July, but that doesn’t mean it will be anything near that come September.