Report: NHL willing to budge on some contracting issues


NHLPA head Donald Fehr claims that the owners provided zero “reciprocity” after Wednesday’s talks ended, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun received some anonymous information outlining some of the areas where the league might budge.

First, that unnamed source outlined 10 “major” points of potential compromise. Click here for all of them, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Entry-level contracts would stay at three years; owners originally asked for two.
  • They didn’t totally give up on moving unrestricted free agency age to 28 and didn’t budge on five-year maximum deals. They did, however, show “willingness to be flexible” on year-to-year salary variation maxing out at five percent. (Whatever “flexible” means.)
  • Interestingly, the cap floor would be determined by “a percentage of the midpoint” instead of just being $16 million less than the ceiling.
  • They agreed to eliminate re-entry waivers.

There are more interesting bits in that “main” area, but there were also nine “system-related” matters. Again, some highlights:

  • The union would “get more say” in setting the escrow rate.
  • Minimum salaries would continue to increase during the CBA.
  • Perhaps most interestingly, the cap would be at $60 million in the first year (although with that $70M+ transition exception in mind) and, interestingly, a guarantee to keep it at $60 million in the second year even if the formula would call for a lower cap ceiling.

Again, these offerings aren’t official out there – like, say, the NHLPA’s proposal – but they might indicate that Gary Bettman’s claims about “momentum” are more accurate than some believe.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.