Around the League

NHL CBA and Return to Play tidbits thus far

Over the past few days, attention has been drawn to the NHL as they attempt to return to play. Tied to returning to play are some CBA negotiations, as the current CBA expires after the 2020-2021 season. The news has been unverified and seems to come in different thoughts/rumors.


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  • Amazed at the lack of 1 amnesty buyout even being considered. We have precedence for this and this would be as good a time as any to reintroduce the exception to the buyout rule. This isn’t about good cap management versus bad, this is about the more profitable teams that carry the League on their back versus the poorer teams.

    • And I am amazed that you would expect it to be considered. The previous amnesty buyout was in response to a major change in the CBA. The Richards contract was perhaps a mistake, but iot was not that bad. Suddenly with the new rules embedded in the new CBA, it became crippling. Amnesty buyouts were a necessity – in fact teams like the Rangers may not have signed on without them.

      In 2020, amnesty buyouts are simply a willful undermining of the salary cap. And, as the escrow dispute makes clear, the salary cap is already too high. You may be ready for eight or so teams to fold, but the players would not like it and the national marketing of the sport would suffer. And the acceptance of a two tier league where half of the teams are not competitive by design would really depress salaries; the players and poor teams are natural partners.

      • Well here you have a major change thanks to an unforeseen circumstance.

        As far as 8 teams “folding”, that won’t happen because of an amnesty buyout, in fact some of those teams might actually benefit from it … and it’s the top 5-10 teams that keep the whole league afloat to begin with, their well being is therefore just as important to the overall health of the League.

        • I thought I answered this, but here is a short version. The reason for the amnesty buyout last time was not because of a major change. It was that the CBA literally changed the contracts themselves. Before the new CBA, the Wade Redden contract carried no cap hit. Afterwards, it would have. Because the NHL was changing the rules in the middle of the game, it was only fair that they let teams out of “newly bad” contracts.

          • “Major change” doesn’t have to be limited to a CBA change. The virus is a force majeure.

          • yes, this is a major change, but my point wss that major change is not an excuse to everything you want.

            In the present setting, a valid reason is that something is a solution to a significant problem. In the covid world, the salary cap is not viewed as a problem for the sport but rather as part of the solution to the problem.

            Now, if instead, you want to change the buyout rate – from 2/3 to one half (or less) for example, then you are actually talking about a real step forward. However, a certain group does not like this and I suspect the NHLPA would veto it.

            Thinking outside the box is fine, but solutions should sove real problems related to the present environment.

          • Yeah, we disagree. The static nature of the salary cap due to Covid is a problem when up until now most GMs reasonably planned for its natural rise. This isn’t an issue of degree of the increase, this is about the lack of any increase probably over the course of the next 2-3 years.

  • A return to the Olympics would be wonderful. Nothing like seeing the greatest players in the world all playing against each other in such a tournament.

  • I very much enjoy watching the world’s best hockey players participating in the Olympics. It showcases the game on the world stage. Also it inspires young hockey players that one day they can represent their country.

    With no increase to the salary cap there will be a lot of clubs with very little cap room. The Rangers being one of them.

    They should be buying out Staal and Henk as well as unloading Smitty. As mentioned before, 1 yr deal for Strome only. If the Rangers are not in playoff contention at the trade deadline they should move him.

    • They will be in playoff contention, so then what?

      2-3 year deal works best, especially if you’re going through the trouble of buying out both Staal and Hank, plus trading Smith …. except that will never happen, Staal isn’t going anywhere.

    • Actually the flat cap argues against buyouts. Buying out Hank for example saves $3M this coming year while adding $1.5M the following year. If the cap were rising, that $1.5M would be less than half as important as the savings, but with a steady cap, that penalty is bigger. Plus players may not haggle so much about next year’s salaries as they likely will only get half of them.

      Ironically, if the Rangers buy out Lundqvist or Staal or Smith, they will have to pay these players more than if they actually played. 2/3 of their salary beats their prorated salaries for 2020-2021.

      Mind you, they will buy out Hank as a courtesy to him so he won’t have to be a third stringer, but not for good cap management.

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