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09-30-2003, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffaloed
National Hockey League Collective Bargaining Agreement, Exhibit 3, Opt-In Form

Article 8 refers to who must submit an Opt-In form

8.4. Eligibility for Claim. excerpt
(b) In addition to the players referred to in sub-paragraph
(a), any player who (i) will be age 18 on or before September
15 in the year in which such Entry Draft is held, or (ii) reaches
his 19th birthday between September 16 and December 31, both
dates included, next following the Entry Draft and who in either
case wishes to become eligible for selection in the Entry Draft,
can attain eligibility by delivering to the League a written
notice in the form of Exhibit 3 hereto prior to the later of (A)
May 1, or (B) seven days following the date such player finishes
competing on his team in the year in which such draft is to be

Seems pretty logical that if a player opts in under one set of rules, and those rules are changed, he'd be permitted to opt out. I don't think players not subject to the requirement to opt-in would have a legal basis to challenge being subject to a rookie salary cap under the new CBA, but the vast majority of top prospects have to opt-in.

The NHL can cite the Leon Wood case, but the only thing that established was that the NBA draft and it's salary cap negotiated into the CBA wasn't subject to antitrust regulation. Wood wasn't drafted under any opt-in provision, and the salary cap rules that Wood was challenging were already in the NBA CBA when he was drafted. Wood was drafted in 1984. The CBA he was challenging was signed in 1983.
Hi Buffaloed, thanks for the look up...

I think we're on different wavelengths here. I agree that if Rookies have complied with the CBA by opting into the draft, they have made an agreement to live by the CBA on the expectation that the NHL team that drafts them will do the same.

However, at the moment the CBA expires and NHL locks out the NHLPA, the CBA no longer applies to anyone until there an agreement on a new one. If you believe the NHL, they will not agree to enter into a new CBA unless and until the NHLPA makes some concessions in certain key areas in a re-written agreement.

The NHL will have its ideas on what it's minimum conditions for a deal would be, and the NHLPA will have theirs. The NHLPA may well take an opening position that unsigned rookies that opted in under the terms of the previous CBA must be allowed to obtain the rights they would have obtained had the CBA continued and the NHL teams that drafted them failed to exercise their options by tendering a bone fide offer compliant with the rookie contract provisions. However, both sides will have to offer concessions in the drafting of the new rules, and I would expect that the CBA would almost certainly have some explicit language that would deal with the rights of and restriction on entry level players drafted under the old system.

I still think that McKenzie is right, that in the end, the NHLPA will offer concessions that negatively impact the rights of entry system players before offering concessions that impact the rights of more established players. And while I would agree that concessions regarding the rights of future draftees will be offered sooner than concessions that diminsh existing draftee rights, it's my opinion at this stage that the NHLPA will only be slightly more protective of the CBA rights of previously drafted players. In the end, I would expect at this stage that the new CBA will have new and specific language that will pertaining to old system entries that will offer less than existing CBA salary limits and will strongly tighten up on bonus rules.

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