After a 16-hour marathon negotiating session, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed on the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, effectively ending the lockout that’s wiped out half the 2012-13 season.
So what does the new CBA look like?
It’s a large collection of printed paper bound together with some type of fastener, but that’s not important right now.
What is important: What the new CBA establishes as far as player contracts and other off-ice details.
• After it was nearly a deal-breaker for the players in the last few weeks, the salary cap for the 2013-14 season will be $64.3 million – the exact cap the NHL had in 2011-12. The NHL was asking for a $60 million cap; the NHLPA was asking for a $67 million cap for next season.
This is a win for the NHL: The cap number won’t mean teams must dismantle their rosters, but there will be some player movement to get teams under that new cap. Plus, the two compliance buyouts – a.k.a. amnesty buyouts – per team for next season will count against the players’ share of Hockey Related Revenue, per Chris Johnston. Get thee to Cap Geek!
• The salary floor for 2013-14 will be $44 million. The cap floor from 2011-12 was $48.3 million.
• The NHL won limits on player contract length. The longest term for a player a team is re-signing in eight years; the longest term for a free-agent moving from team to team is seven years.
• Contract term was one method to end elephantine cap circumventing deals. Another method was salary “variance”, that limited the amount of fluctuation in salary from year to year (up or down). The CBA framework agreed upon has a 35-percent variance; the catch is, no contract year can be lower than 50-percent of the highest salary year. So if the top year is $10 million, no other year can drop below $5 million. Still: a win for Donald Fehr and the NHLPA, considering the NHL was asking for as little as 5-percent variance at one point.
• On salary arbitration, Elliotte Friedman of CBC reports that teams can’t walk away from an award to a player unless that award is at least $3.5 million (a figure that will increase in subsequent seasons). The Clarke MacArthur clause?
• The NHL's supplemental discipline appeals system has been revamped, according to Darren Dreger of TSN: Brendan Shanahan is still the first judge; the appeals will still go through Commissioner Gary Bettman; but for suspensions of six or more games, a "neutral third party will decide if necessary."
• Finally, according to multiple sources, realignment has been pushed down the road and will not happen for this season.