Will the NHLPA insist on a cap on escrow?

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With the NHLPA expected to make the NHL a counteroffer today, one of the many things to keep an eye out for is any proposed cap on escrow.

According to the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, this issue has serious roadblock potential (as if there weren’t enough of those).

One source said Sunday there were worries that escrow could hit 30 per cent if the NHL’s proposal of a $60 million US cap (for 2013-14) was accepted (that includes the one compliance buyout counting against the players’ share of hockey-related revenue, as currently proposed). No doubt the league would dispute that (saying that the lower the cap, the less they’d have to pay) but this is why both sides’ accountants make money.

This is also one of the reasons the NHLPA wants the highest possible salary cap for next season. The more it needs the cap on escrow, the higher percentage of league revenue will go to the players (beyond the agreed upon 50 percent plus “make whole” payments.)

For the NHL, which has said it’s impossible to predict how the lockout will affect business, it’s understandable why it would be hesitant to agree to any cap on escrow. If revenues fall more than expected, the players will be protected and the owners won’t.