NHLPA head Donald Fehr received a chance to explain the players’ contracting gripes, so it only seems fair to share the owners stance, which was laid out by Bill Daly to NHL.com’s Corey Masisak.
Daly began with a bigger picture look.
“We think the system will operate better,” Daly said. “Obviously I think everyone knows that we’ve had concerns for a while about contracts that we feel are circumvention of the system and the cap … that is definitely an issue we need to clean up.”
The other issue Daly explained that moving the unrestricted free agency age from 27 to 28 would help teams give “more money to more established players.”
“It’s something we hear from our GMs regularly,” Daly said. “They believe they’re forced to make talent assessments too early in a player’s career and it would be better for the game … if they could make those decisions a little later in a player’s career.”
“We’re talking about one year — we’re not talking about moving heaven and earth.”
If both Daly and Fehr’s comments are accurate, both sides are taking these matters more seriously than many observers expected.
“These issues are very, very important to the clubs,” Daly said. ” … If we were hearing from the clubs, ‘Geez, don’t let these player contracting issues get in the way of a deal. Let’s get a deal done and get the players back on the ice,’ then that’s what we would be saying at the bargaining table, but that’s not what we’re hearing from our clubs.”
Daly told Masisak that he would “like to be optimistic,” but the contracting issues must be addressed.
“If we can find some way to address our concerns on these issues, we can move this process forward,” Daly said. ” … I just don’t right now, given their opposition to addressing some of these issues, I don’t know where we go.”
Much like Fehr’s explanation, Daly provides some insight on the process – but maybe not a whole lot of hope.