Report: Owners make bold initial CBA proposals

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While the NHL and NHLPA haven’t gone public with the specifics of their CBA talks, RDS’ Renaud Lavoie shares some of the owners’ initial offerings. One can imagine that the players probably find many of the details pretty hard to swallow, with a significant decrease in their share of the revenue being the headline-grabber. (Honestly, if the owners are dead serious about these terms, then you have every right to fear a lockout. Yikes.)

Here are the five points that Lavoie shared. Please note that he didn’t provide an official source, though. I’ll provide some of my own initial feedback when appropriate.

1. Owners propose that players should reduce their share of the revenue from 57 percent to 46, an 11 percent decrease.

Thoughts: money is the king with these types of negotiations so expect the revenue split to be one of the biggest points of contention. Donald Fehr has expressed getting a bigger piece of the pie and considering the NHL’s tendency to boast about earnings, the NHLPA will have some serious leverage there.

2. Owners want players to go through 10 NHL seasons before they qualify for unrestricted free agency.

Thoughts: another … ambitious goal. It’s pretty tough to imagine this happening considering that limiting UFA status to 27 already hinders a player from signing many big deals.

3. Contract length limited to five years.

Thoughts: Maybe that exact length will change, but I’d guess this would be a less contentious point.

4. No more salary arbitration.

Thoughts: It’s tough to imagine this happening, although players might be willing to wait until an older age to have this option or some other similar compromise.

5. Owners want entry-level contracts to last five years instead of three.

Thoughts: Rookies are often the biggest losers in CBA talks for a simple reason: they aren’t there. That’s why rookie maximums are becoming more common in sports. It wouldn’t be surprising if active players relent on this one, at least if there’s a grandfather clause. Five years might be a bit much, too, though. In an odd way, this is one of the greediest demands from owners because a rookie maximum already provides outstanding savings.

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Hopefully this initial offer is like a stereotypical haggling situation with owners starting off with excessive demands but reason in the back of their minds. The first point will likely be the most fought-over one, but all five reveal varying degrees of hubris.

It’s a bit scary, especially if there’s not much interest in compromise. I’d wait before having too many nightmares about a lockout, yet it’s an unsettling set of provisions. What do you think, though?