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11-12-2012, 08:01 PM
  #430
squidz*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bozak911 View Post
I understand that players would never do this, but under these rules, the owners pretty much have them over the barrel. The players options would be to either agree to the negotiated contract with their owning club, accept an offer sheet, or hold out.

The teams could also, with the expanded arbitration rights, just keep up the arbitration cycle until the player is 28.
But it doesn't change much of anything is why I speak up. The players' current options are to agree to the negotiated contract, accept an offer sheet, or hold out. That's how RFA already works, and none of the changes (except the UFA age) really make much of a difference there.

I think you're misinterpreting the league's arbitration rights under this scenario. The league would be granted arbitration rights in any year the player has them. If I recall correctly, that's only in the final two years before UFA. Teams wouldn't be able to "just keep up the arbitration cycle." They would be able to opt for two years of arbitration, but that's hardly "taking away from the players' rights" in a meaningful way beyond the 2005 CBA. Team elected arbitration is almost never used for several reasons. It almost guarantees a player will not re-sign with the club (see Parise, Zach and Weber, Shea) and it does nothing more than protect the team from offer sheets. The player still ends up with a "fair market salary" as determined by the arbiter. Ultimately, it's a tool of the last resort, and wouldn't be wielded nearly so heavy-handedly as people keep trying to make out.

The realistic scenario with players is that teams will still attempt to "buy UFA years" in their final RFA contract. Arguably, the new design makes that more difficult. It used to be that players like Stamkos, Toews, or P. Kane would receive a 3 year ELC then a 5 year 2nd contract that "buys" their first UFA year. The 2 year ELC and 5 year contract limit would force teams into more awkward 2nd contracts to try retain that situation. In fact, they'd have to have a 2 year second contract to mimic the scenario, which would likely drive up the total salary those players received. Looking at some of those players just listed, how much more money does Toews get paid over the course of his first 8 or 9 years in the NHL under that scenario? The Blackhawks have him 2 years on ELC, re-sign him for 2 more years anticipating a 5 year contract to buy his first UFA year. That puts him signing that deal right after he wins the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup instead of right before. Think he only makes $6.3MM with those on his resume? Same story with Stamkos, that behavior nets Stammer a new contract after his 60 goal season. Kane's contract would have come after just scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal and a 30 goal season.

Players are going to have a better resume to negotiate off of in their fourth year than in their third, so the league might "win" by signing them to a second contract a year earlier, but the cost is by significantly inflating the third contract. The only real change here is the 28/8 UFA age and the years under which they receive the money, not the total dollar amount. There is a caveat to this, players who peak on their first contract, then under-perform on their second will see a salary hit. However, that's a deserved hit based upon performance, and not some sort of systemic benefit or constraint imposed by the system.

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