While there won’t be a flurry of agreements on contracts for next season today which is often the norm on Canada Day, it appears that significant progress is being made in CBA discussions. Here is a roundup of the latest news and notes:
- Signing bonuses that were scheduled for today will be paid and not deferred to the beginning of the next league year, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie (Twitter link). However, with today being a holiday in Canada and Saturday being one in the United States, the payments may not physically be made until next week. The escrow rate is still yet to be determined as well.
- An interim extension has been agreed upon with regards to player contracts that were initially set to expire today, notes TSN’s Frank Seravalli (via Twitter). While not specified, the extension would likely run until the start of the next league year which, as things stand, is likely sometime in mid-to-late October. Seravalli adds that players will be allowed to opt out of returning to play for the upcoming postseason if they so desire.
- Players that were hoping to sign entry-level deals and be eligible to play in the play-in round/playoffs will not be able to do so, tweets McKenzie. However, as CapFriendly points out (Twitter link), today remains the last day for players signed for next season to sign a 2020-21 contract until the opening of the free agent market; it had been June 1st but had been extended. Barring another extension, a decision will still need to be made on whether those players could sign for this season and burn a year of their contracts without actually playing.
- Included in the CBA discussions was a cap on capping the year-to-year variability on salaries as well as limit on signing bonuses, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (Twitter thread). Whether or not those were successful remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Friedman reiterated that the expected salary caps for the upcoming seasons are $81.5MM in 2020-21 and 2021-22 and $82.5MM in 2022-23. That will certainly present some challenges for teams that already are tight to the current $81.5MM Upper Limit as well as ones that have pending new deals that will take them to that level.
The CBA extension remains a part of the NHL’s Return to Play plan which is expected to also feature more concrete deals of the final two phases of that plan – training camps and the hub cities. The contenders for those hubs seem to be changing regularly but the most recent forecast has Toronto and Edmonton in the lead although CBC’s Devin Heroux relays (via Twitter) that Toronto Public Health has not been notified of any selection from the league just yet. This final package, assuming it’s officially agreed upon, will need to be voted on by all of the players and not just the team representatives; that process will take a few days at a minimum.