- $850,000 is going to be the cap for entry-level players, but there are some bonuses that these young players can make. So a player like Sidney Crosby could make upwards of $4.5 million if he reaches some lofty bonuses, like being a top-10 scorer in the league.
- Free agency will also become more liberal under the new CBA. Unrestricted free agency will still be 31-years-old in 2005, but the number drops considerably from there - 29 in 2006, 28 in 2007 and 27 in 2008 through 2010. This is important because at 27 players still have a lot of their career left.
- There is all sorts of talk that players will have to renegotiate their contracts to get underneath the salary cap...that is not going to be allowed. Players are not going to be allowed to renegotiate their contracts. They are stuck with the deal unless they are bought out.
- Another positive for the players is a significantly improved pension for both existing players in the NHL and for those retired players who are over the age of 70.
Changes to the playoff format are also expected as reported by Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun.
- The league may add an extra round of playoffs when the NHL rturns to the ice. Although the format has yet to be determined, two teams from each conference would make the playoffs and play in a best-of-three preliminary round.
- That means 10 teams make the playoffs in each conference. Then 7 vs 10 and 8 vs 9 will take place in a best-of-three series, while seeds 1 through 6 have one week off.
- That means in the 2003-2004 playoffs, Buffalo and Atlanta would have made it in the East, and Edmonton and Minnesota in the West.
- Montreal would have played Atlanta, NYI vs Buffalo, StL vs Minnesota, and Nashville vs Edmonton would have been the best of three series.
All these changes are making it more and more interesting, and definitely helps define "A Whole New Game"