I'm still trying to figure out what owners said they would not honor existing contracts as written. Every contract stipulates that all values in that contract are subject to a CBA.
The nhl wasn't exactly "honouring" the dollar amount of contracts in the last cba either, as they were subject to escrow in order for the players to receive exactly 57% of revenue overall. The NHL "Make Whole" offer would have almost entirely made up the difference for players currently with contracts, depending on revenue growth in the next 3 years.
The thing is: if Fehr would actually bargain from the framework the nhl has put forward, he could move the owners significantly in the "Make Whole" amount and in the contract details as well. Understandably right now, the owners don't want to budge on those issues while Fehr is still trying to remove linkage.