Thread: My CBA proposal
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09-17-2004, 04:36 PM
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My CBA proposal

I haven't seen anyone else do anything in detail, so I'll give it a shot. I think the first thing that has to be done is to set goals of what is wanted from the agreement, and then set out ways to try and achieve those goals.


1) Target average salary of $1.6 million, target average team payroll of $38 million. This represents about the half-way point between the owners' proposed $1.3 million/31 million and the current situation at $1.9 million/$44-45 million. It would immediately generate savings of $180-210 million for the owners, almost completely covering the $224 million in claimed losses in 2003-04.

2) Protect the nature of team-building and organization-building. I think fans like that teams build in cycles, and that rosters are relatively consistent. A quality league should have both elite teams and rebuilding teams, and hard caps prevent that. I don't think the NFL system of having 30 nearly identical rosters, massive player movement every year, and no ability to maintain a great team is a good thing for hockey. Teams like Ottawa and Vancouver, quality-run organizations in medium-sized markets, would have had their talent level pillaged over the past two seasons had a hard cap in the $31 million range been in place, and teams that had trouble developing their own talent would have profited from it. Is that really fair? I think the NHL as we know it is a quality product and the league doesn't need a facelift, just a way to stabilize salaries 15-20% below current levels.

3) Accepting that not every team will make a profit, and that not every team deserves to make a profit. 4 or 5 organizations have huge problems far outside the sphere of the CBA, and need to get their s*** in order before they deserve to be turning a profit. Teams knowing that they have a guaranteed profit in store also lowers the incentive to put out a quality product for fans to enjoy. 80-85% of teams making a profit is a healthy league.


1. Luxury Tax

a) i) payrolls under $38 million are untaxed
ii) payrolls $38-43 million are taxed $.50 for every dollar over
iii) payrolls $43-48 million are taxed $1.00 for every dollar over
iv) payrolls $48 million + are taxed $2.00 for every dollar over
ie. a team choosing to run a $50 million payroll will pay $11.5 million in tax
a team choosing to run a $44 million payroll will pay $3.5 million in tax

b) there is a one-time adjustment 3 years into the CBA to ensure the tax is having the desired effect. For every $100 000 the average salary is above or below the $1.6 million target, basic tax levels change by $1 million.

c) the tax changes year-to-year based on growth of total hockey revenue league-wide. For every increase or decrease in league revenues of $100 million relative to 2003-04 numbers, the basic tax levels change by $1 million.

2. Revenue Sharing

a) there is a salary floor of $30 million. Teams may choose to spend under this amount, but if so forfeit any claims to shared revenue. Likewise, teams with payrolls over $38 million have no claim on this revenue.

b) 3% payroll tax on all player salaries. If the average player salary levels at $1.6 million as expected, this will generate approx. $30-32 million to be dispersed.

c) total pool of money (luxury tax + payroll tax) to be distributed amongst those teams with payrolls between $30-38 million having the lowest revenue streams. This combined pool would probably total $50-60 million dollars.

3. Entry-level salaries

a) all players entering the league, regardless of age and draft position, are given identical 4-year contracts, as follows:

i) any player who has yet to be on an NHL roster for 50 games in one season - $500 000 base salary
ii) any player who has been on an NHL roster for over 50 games in one season - $600 000 base salary
iii) any player who has been on an NHL roster for over 50 games in two seasons - $700 000 base salary
iv) any player who has been on an NHL roster for over 50 games in three seasons - $800 000 base salary

ie. a player turning pro at age 20 who spends the majority of his first season in the AHL, then the following 3 seasons in the NHL would earn his AHL salary the first year, then $500 000, $600 000, and $700 000 the succeeding 3 years.

b) all entry-level contracts are two-way contracts, and become one-way contracts when the player has completed 2 NHL seasons

c) clubs may walk away from any player who has played less than 10 NHL games in the first two years of his contract, making that player an unrestricted free agent. (teams should not have to make a 4-year commitment to every failing prospect - otherwise farm teams would become too crowded).

d) bonuses may be achieved for reaching a variety of targets (similar to now). No bonus may exceed $100 000, bonuses may not be connected, and bonuses may not more than double the base value of the contract.
ie. A player in the first year of his contract who hits 8 bonuses would be paid the maximum $1 million, double his 500k base salary.

4. Unrestricted Free agency

a) all players first become unrestricted 12 years after they are first eligible for the NHL Entry Draft, regardless of when they were selected.
ie. a player born June 1, 1975 would be first eligible to become an UFA on July 1, 2005.
a player born November 1, 1975 would be first eligible to become an UFA on July 1, 2006.

b) players age 24+ who have played less than 40 NHL games, and players 25+ who have played less than 80 NHL games also become UFAs at the completion of their contracts.

5. Restricted Free Agency

a) teams must present a qualifying offer representing 80% of the base value of the final year of the player's previous contract, or the player becomes an UFA.

6. Arbitration

a) high-low system - arbitrator must choose either the player's offer or the management offer. If the player offer is chosen, management has the right to walk away, making the player an UFA.

b) either the team or the player can select to go to arbitration.

c) players may go to arbitration no more than twice in their career.

7. Entry Draft

a) players drafted from North American club teams are property of their organization for 5 years, and players drafted from European club teams are property of their organization for 10 years. Players attending college have their rights maintained 2 full seasons following their final collegiate action, if it is more than 5 years after the player is selected.

b) NHL clubs must present an offer of a standard entry-level contract to any draft pick inside of two years of his selection, or that player becomes an UFA. If the player does not agree to the contract, the team must present an offer in each succeeding year to maintain the player's rights for the full 5-season maximum.


What it accomplishes:

1) Covers almost exactly the $224 million in claimed losses last year - cuts $180-210 million in payroll, and raises an additional $30 million in payroll tax.

2) Addresses revenue-sharing and provides a substantial amount of money to be shared amongst well-run organizations with low revenue streams

3) Addresses problems with entry-level contracts, qualifying offers, arbitration, and draft loopholes.

4) Preserves the nature of the game as we know it.

5) Ensures that the vast majority of NHL clubs turn a profit.

Fire away.

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