Thursday, July 14, 2005

TSN Reports on some details in new CBA

TORONTO (CP) - Some details expected in the six-year tentative deal announced Wednesday by the NHL and NHL Players' Association:

- A 24 per cent salary rollback on all existing contracts.

- The upper limit on the salary cap for 2005-06 will be $39 million US while the minimum floor will be at $21.5 million, based on projected revenues of $1.7 billion.

- Players salaries cannot - on a league-wide basis - take up more than 54 per cent of revenues; In ensuing years, the cap levels will be decided by the previous year's revenues. This can cut two ways: if revenues grow in future years, the cap will move upward in the players' favour, perhaps much higher than the $42.5-million hard cap offered by the league before the season was cancelled; but if the NHL gets hammered by the fallout from the lockout, the cap could be even lower than $39 million for the 2006-07 season.

- A percentage of salaries will be put into escrow until the new salary cap can be calculated at the end of each season.

- No player can earn more than 20 per cent of the team cap, which for 2005-06 means no player can earn more than $7.8 million.

- As of 2007-08, players - regardless of age - can become unrestricted free agents after seven years in the NHL, with the 2004-05 wiped-out season counting in the service time. That means any player who began his career in the NHL at the age of 18 can qualify for unrestricted free agency at 25. In the meantime, the age of unrestricted free agency will remain 31 this summer but will gradually be brought down to 27 by the end of 2007-2008 season.

- Revenue-sharing where the top 10 money-making clubs donate to a fund shared by the bottom 15 teams.

- The entry-level system will limit those players to $850,000 a year in salary (which it was 10 years ago) with bonuses not as easily reachable as the previous deal. The maximum possible amount in bonuses is $4.5 million although it's unrealistic for almost anyone to reach all the lofty targets. The age for draft eligibility will also be raised from 18 years to 19 years.

- Two-way salary arbitration. Both players and owners can select to go to arbitration, whereas only players had those rights in the previous deal. This will allow owners to downgrade underperforming players.

- The ability for teams to buy players out of their contracts at two thirds of their value at no cost towards the salary cap within 10 days after the CBA officially takes effect. This is meant to help teams fit under the cap but the clubs won't be able to re-sign those players.

- Teams will not be allowed to re-structure existing player contracts in an attempt to fit a big salary under the cap.

- League-wide minimum salary bumped up to $450,000 from $185,000. The minimum goes up to $500,000 in the sixth year of the deal.

- The league will play an unbalanced schedule. Teams will play their four divisional opponents a total of eight times for 32 games. Teams will play their 10 conference rivals a total of 4 times for 40 games. Teams will play a home-and-home against each team in one division of the other conference for a total of 10 games - that's a total of 82 games.

- Participation in the February 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

No comments: