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10-01-2003, 05:21 AM
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here's an idea I've had for a CBA "solution", just looking for some feedback. Personally I'm not sure the whole thing has to be rewritten, just a few parts here and there.

Keep the current CBA, with the following changes:

(1) Initial contract performance bonuses capped at 1.5 mil total per season, or the level of performance bonuses would be raised (from 20 goals to 25, 60 points to 70, etc) with no limits on rookie bonuses. Rookie cap tied to draft position, but will start at a significantly higher amount than the current 1.2 (thereabouts) per season. Maybe #1 overall is worth 1.9 mil cap, 2-3 1.85 mil, 4-8 1.8 mil, and so on (in some form, not necessarily following that pattern exactly.
The point about the bonus levels is not set by the owners, the CBA, or the nhlpa... that is on a case by case basis determined by the GM and the player agent. Nothing made Lowe set Comrie's levels to what they were, but he needed to set them at a somewhat attainable level in order for the Comrie camp to agree to them. I like the idea about the picks... but I would set it at 1.5 mil for a 1st overall pick. The only problem I see is this teams swapping picks (like last year), and the player who everyone knew was going #1 overall goes say 3rd, that could possibly lead to a grievance by the NHLPA... just a possiblity.

(2) Draft age raised to 19, via an agreement in the CBA. No more opting in, everyone is eligible at age 19, and every player HAS to be drafted to play before age 22, after which time everyone (Europeans included) are strictly UFA's. All rookie contracts to be 3 years long for drafted players.
The NHL is required by law to have 18 year olds in their draft... the CBA cannot prevent this.

(3) Arbitration starts for everyone at age 22
I don't think this benefits either side. Most players don't play their rookie season until they are about 21 or so, leaving these guys no bargaining power anyways. It hurts the owners because of the player say wins the ROY, they have a free lotto ticket (based on how we have seen past arbitration rulings). The way it is now has more of a mutual benefit.

(4) Qualifying offer is 75% of the previous contract
The players still don't have to accept this offer... and really, this only applies to players who have been in the league for a certain number of years, and who make less than the league minimum.

(5) UFA age drops to 29
I'm sure the players would be all over this, but like you are mentioning next, it is only viable if there is either a hard cap, or a luxury cap.

Luxury Tax:

any dollar spent above $52 mil (just an initial guess at a number) has to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis and will go into a pot to be split equally amongst all 30 NHL teams.
- calculated based on the cost of a team's roster per game, summed for all 82 games.
since teams will be receiving 1/30 of their own money back, plus a share of whatever other teams spend above the threshold, it would have the effect of lowering the dollar per dollar contribution to effectively something lower, maybe 80-90 cents on the dollar.
I personally think that the luxury tax should be divided by the teams who aren't over, and it should be calculated as a rate of the lower under the cap you are, the more you receive.
Owners perspective:

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