Over on Silver Sevens, Amelia posits a great topic for a summer Saturday: "What do you want from the next CBA?"
The CBA presents an opportunity to improve some of the league's more glaring problems. While I think many things should be tweaked, the change I would most like to see would be to have a player's annual salary equal his cap hit for each season. This would eliminate the appetite for longer deals with bonus years to bring a player's annual cap hit down and solve one of the most troublesome problems of the current CBA.
We've discussed the long-term contract conundrum many times in the last few months, as no less than 20 players will have contracts of 9 years or more next summer — of varying degrees of cap circumvention.
Amelia got this thing rolling; I'll add my own little wish list of things I might want to see in the CBA to the ones you'll hopefully have down in the comments. Let the debates begin!
1. Increase revenue sharing
It's going to be interesting to see how Donald Fehr, the man who gave baseball meaningful revenue sharing, uses it in CBA negotiations. The "haves" wield a lot of power for the NHL, but there are more "have nots" in the League. It could be a divisive issue.
But the bottom line is that there needs to be more revenue shared in a League whose profits are soaring. A better product, more meaningful parity and competitive bidding for players, to me, outweigh the kvetching from Original Six teams over having to share profits with Bettman expansion teams. Of course, there might be a way to accomplish this that helps all parties …
2. Soften The Cap
The "cash over cap" issue will be debated in the next CBA: Burying contracts in the AHL or Europe, and sneaking in B.S. years at the end of deals to bring down the total cap value of the contract (See: Suter, Parise). Some owners want to see the practice outlawed and ever dollar count against the cap; if so, how about this: Luxury taxes for teams that go over the cap, that are then distributed to the teams near the floor?
It would make teams pay for their Wade Redden-esque mistakes — literally — if those contracts can't be buried. And if the NHL wants to outlaw contracts that sneak $1 million years in at the end to get around the cap … well, this would be a way to spend over the cap, with weaker teams benefiting.
I go back and forth on this one. I'm not entirely sure it would be good for hockey.
There are a lot of pitfalls here, including the fact that the "haves" would be able to offer contracts that the "have-nots" couldn't dream of giving out. (One could argue this is already the case.) There are certainly benefits to a capped League, but it seems like teams are already spending over the cap with their creative accounting; why not make the dollars count and tax the over-spenders?
Perhaps the biggest obstacle: Donald Fehr has been suspicious of luxury taxes in the past when the League sets the rates.
3. Maintain the free-agent age standards
I think the current system works, insofar as teams getting the chance to retain the talent that they draft and develop, and players being able to leave while still in their prime. Would I like to see more offer sheets to RFAs? Of course. But that's not a CBA issue; that's on the owners and GMs, who'll have to stop patting each other on their backs and start using daggers instead.
4. Allow for "lifetime" contracts
Not a fan of cap circumvention, but also not a fan of term limits, for the reasons listed here.
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Those are a few of the many things I'd be interested in seeing in the next CBA; what would you like to see?