The National Hockey League's counterproposal to the NHLPA is leaking like a faucet after their meetings finished up in New York on Tuesday, and it's certainly reframing the optimism that reigned earlier in the day.
According to details provided to USA TODAY Sports, the plan calls for fixed dollars in the first three seasons that would put players share of revenue at 51.6% in 2012-13, 50.5% in 2013-14 and 49.6% in 2014-15. In the final three years, the players and owners would split revenue 50-50.
The initial NHL proposal had called for an immediate cut of players' share of revenues to 43%. According to the NHL's calculations, under its proposal, players would receive an 11% decrease in the first year, an 8.5% decrease in the second and a 5.5% decrease in the third.
The NHL proposal calls for a fixed salary cap of $58 million next season and then caps of $60 million and $62 million. Under the plan, the league projected a fourth-year salary cap of $64.2 million, a fifth year at $67.6 million and the final season's cap of $71.1 million. Last season's salary cap was $64.3 million and the cap was projected to rise to $70.2 million in 2012-13.
The NHL proposal doesn't include an immediate salary rollback, which had been an expected facet of any deal the League offered. It also doesn't seem like something the NHL could avoid if the cap is going to plummet by over $12 million, but that's their word according to Allen.
Meanwhile, there are 16 teams above that cap number for next season. Amnesty buyouts, anyone?
So where do the players take a hit?
The NHL wants the current the percentage of player salaries put towards escrow to significantly increase, which, according to the source, effectively cancels out any real changes from the NHL's original proposal back in July and makes today's proposal more or less the same deal.
If you need an escrow primer, get thee to the Globe & Mail. Pagnotta also reports that the NHL proposal redefines Hockey Related Revenue, which is a major battleground for the NHLPA in this CBA debate.
Again, it's the "fundamentals" that will make or break this offer. Are there still five-year rookie contracts? Is arbitration still viable? Are players shackled to their teams for 10 NHL seasons before unrestricted free agency?
The players are willing to surrender a percentage of their revenue, but not if the League restricts their earning potential in a significant way.
The NHLPA's response to this offer is going to speak volumes about the 2012-13 season, and when it might begin.