Although the CBA extension that is part of the NHL’s Return to Play package has not yet been finalized, details have been leaking out in recent days. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provides an update on many of the details that haven’t been reported yet. Here are some of the details although the full article (which includes information about the Olympics and bubble rules) is definitely worth a read:
- There is a provision for a one-year extension of the agreement if the amount in escrow owed to owners is $125MM or higher. Otherwise, the extension will expire in 2026.
- The plan is to begin raising the Upper Limit of the salary cap once revenues reach $4.8B. Until then, the cap will sit at $81.5MM, the current number. Once the revenues reach the desired mark, the cap will be based on the revenue total from two years prior which should allow for a bit more certainty when it comes to general managers trying to plan ahead for their roster construction.
- Draft picks that are conditional on a player re-signing with a team by a certain date will no longer be permitted. There were a lot of these in recent years but the Players’ Association rightfully noted that this worked against players when it comes to extension talks as the opportunity cost of not having the conditional draft pick had to be factored in.
- The minimum salary will increase to $750K for next season (one year earlier than originally scheduled in the current agreement) and eventually reach $800K by the expiration of the deal. The current minimum is $700K.
- Players that sign multi-year deals at the age of 35 or older will no longer have their cap hit remain on the books if they retire or have their contract terminated. This is the situation that the Kings find themselves in when it comes to Ilya Kovalchuk.
- While escrow will be at 20% for next season, it will drop after that. It should fall between 14-18% for 2021-22, then dip to 10% for 2022-23, and 6% after that. This is a big change from the current structure where escrow is not limited.
- Waived trade protection will now automatically stick with a player once traded. Currently, the acquiring team has the option of honoring the protection but they aren’t required to.
- There are no limits to signing bonuses while there are some changes to the year-to-year variability rules for front-loaded long-term contracts. The cap on the maximum variance between the highest and lowest salary in a single season in those deals will now be 35% (currently 50%).
Talks to finalize the new CBA and other protocols remain ongoing with the hope that a Memorandum of Understanding can be reached over the next few days. Once that happens, the league and Players’ Association (full player vote, not team representatives) will have to vote to ratify the agreement which will take a few days.