Report: New CBA may include ability to trade salary and/or cap space

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“What’s in it for the players?”

It’s a question that’s been repeated over and over by NHLPA chief Donald Fehr. And it’s a fair question, given the union went into negotiations accepting its share of revenues would fall from the 57 percent it earned under the last CBA.

Well, according to the StarTribune’s Michael Russo, here’s what could be in it for the players:

Among other things, the owners have proposed to 1) artificially inflate the salary cap in Year 1 so teams don’t have to trade or release players; 2) trade player salary and cap charges in trades (this is something both teams and players have wanted); 3) eliminate re-entry waivers; 4) Increase revenue sharing with further increases as revenues grow, and the top grossing teams making the biggest contributions (revenue sharing is something Don Fehr is passionate about; wants it so the teams that really need assistance are assisted); 5) Introduction of appeal rights to a neutral third-party arbitrator in cases involving on- and- off-ice discipline (player-proposed wish).

Some other things that the players should like:

1) Joint NHL/NHLPA Health and Safety Committee with equal representation by the league and union; 2) Establishment of a “standard of care” and “primary allegiance” obligations between the team medical staff and players (this is directly due to the tragic Derek Boogaard situation that remains ongoing); 3) Offseason rehab activities would no longer be required in the team’s home city; 4) Players have access to second medical opinions at the club expense; 5) Ice time restrictions and days off during training camp; 5) Improved facility standards in visiting locker rooms; 6) Ice condition improvements and standards; 7) More player friendly rules for parent-son trips, teams would have to pay for parents travel and lodging to first-ever games, other milestones; 8) Different standards for rent and mortgage reimbursements from teams; 9) increased access to tickets for visiting players and also a game ticket policy that minimizes the tax impact on players; 10) And also, the league has agreed to consider a player proposal for single rooms for all players on the road, which would be thousands of extra dollars spent on travel. Typically, players share rooms on the road unless you’re a longstanding player (600 games), or in a lot of cases, goaltenders.

Lots of interesting stuff there, perhaps none more interesting than No. 2 in the first paragraph – “trade player salary and cap charges in trades.”

It’s not clear exactly what that may entail, and obviously there would be limits.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke, one of the NHL’s most eager deal-makers, has been a proponent of being allowed to trade players while maintaining responsibility for part of their salary. But the league, which prides itself on competitive balance, has been hesitant to allow rich clubs to gain too much of an advantage over others.

That said, the ability for budget-conscious franchises to trade unused cap space for draft picks and/or prospects may serve to increase parity in the long run.

And for the players’ sake, more trade flexibility could allow those stuck in bad situations to escape for fresh starts elsewhere.

And for PHT’s sake, more trades mean more clicks, so we’re on board.

Related: NHLPA proposal would allow teams to “trade cap space”

Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

From the release:

Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.

 

Sharks keep stockpiling European free agents, land Sandberg

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Doug Wilson is at it again.

On Thursday, the Sharks GM confirmed yesterday’s news — the signing of Czech d-man Radim Simek — and announced that Swedish forward Filip Sandberg had agreed to a two-year deal.

“Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space,” Wilson said in a release. “He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players.

“We are excited for him to join our organization.”

Sandberg, 22, is fresh off a Swedish League title with HV71. The club announced Sandberg would be headed overseas last week, but didn’t divulge what team had signed him.

It wasn’t surprising NHL clubs had interest. Sandberg had a good offensive campaign in Sweden, scoring 25 points in 52 regular season games, then broke out for six goals and 14 points in 16 playoff contests.

Prior to this year, Sandberg twice represented Sweden at the World Juniors, including the 2013 tournament where the country won silver. He finished with two goals in six games playing alongside the likes of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask.

As for Simek, he inked a one-year deal.

“Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge,” said Wilson. “We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America.”

Simek just finished representing his native Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, where he had two points in eight games.

According to a report from Radio Praha, the Sharks beat out the Rangers to acquire Simek. Passed over in his draft year, the 24-year-old has spent his entire pro career with Liberec Bili Tygri.

As mentioned above, Wilson has done well finding European skaters in their early-to-mid-20s, ones that can contribute right away at the NHL level: Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, most specifically.

The hope now is that Simek and Sandberg will continue that trend.

Avs dismiss three from coaching staff, but Bednar remains

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Colorado GM Joe Sakic said there would be turnover this offseason, but that head coach Jared Bednar was safe.

On Tuesday, Sakic followed through.

The Avs have parted ways with two of Bednar’s assistants — Tim Army and Dave Farrish — and also relieved goalie coach Francois Allaire of his duties.

Army, 54, has been with the club for the last six years, having previously served as the head coach at Providence. He served under three different head coaches in Colorado — Bednar, Patrick Roy and Joe Sacco — and was largely tasked with running the team’s power play (which finished 30th in the NHL this year).

Farrish, 60, just wrapped his second year on the job with the Avs after coming over from Toronto. A veteran of nearly 30 years in coaching, Farrish was brought aboard by Roy, and brought “a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization.” A journeyman blueliner who playecd 430 games at the NHL level, Farrish ran the club’s defense last season.

Allaire, 57, has been coaching goalies at the NHL level for over 25 years, with previous stops in Montreal, Anaheim and Toronto. His ties to Roy ran deep — he mentored the former Avs coach with the Canadiens, and the pair won two Stanley Cups together (in 1986 and ’93). Allaire has been with the Avs for the last four years, on the heels of an acrimonious departure from Toronto.

Today’s shakeup is a significant one, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Bednar was essentially forced into retaining all of Roy’s staff following the latter’s shock resignation last August, and probably wants to bring in some of his own guys.

Sakic, meanwhile, had to make some sort of changes after the worst regular season in franchise history — and today’s could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Related: Avs president gives Sakic vote of confidence