Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr

Still details to negotiate on CBA length


A couple days ago, the NHLPA reportedly agreed to the NHL’s demand that the next CBA would last 10 years. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they can scratch that off of the “things to negotiate” list, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

Just because they both have settled on a 10-year deal doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll get a decade-long break from any possible work stoppage.

There’s still a chance that either side will opt-out of the agreement, but when and how are sticking points. The players want the option to opt-out after seven campaigns, while the NHL thinks it should be eight. Additionally, the NHL wants to require that any party wishing to opt-out must notify the other following Year 6.

The NHL would also like the CBA to expire on June 30 while the players want to keep the date at Sept. 15. A June 30 expiration date would prevent the NHL from going on a spending spree just prior to any potential work stoppage, as was the case last summer.

Of course, the league and union still have quite a bit to talk about beyond just the CBA length. ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun estimated that 7-8 issues remain unresolved.

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.