As the NHL continues to work with the NHLPA’s Return to Play Committee on plans to begin the 2020-21 season, the league has requested more financial concessions from the players. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the NHL is seeking an additional 13% of salary deferral on 2020-21 player salaries. This is in addition to a 10% deferral and 20% escrow written into the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the 2020-21 season.
The league’s request means that players would see 23% of their salary, post-escrow, deferred to the future in order to help owners with the reality of reduced revenue in another season impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. For those who like equations, that means players would be paid y=.77*(.8x), with x being the player’s total compensation in 2020-21. For those who dislike equations, they would be making about 62% of their salary this season, at least for those whose signing bonuses do not exceed 62% of their total compensation. Brooks writes that he is unsure whether this request is an ultimatum by the league or a starting point for negotiations. It is also unclear if the additional 13% of deferred salary would be treated the same as the initial 10%, which will be paid out to each player in three equal installments in 2022, 2023, and 2024.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski adds that league sources have stated that under no circumstances will owners pay their players for a full 82-game season when it seems like a near certainty that the 2020-21 campaign will be considerably shortened. Of course, the existing 10% of salary deferral is already paying players for the equivalent of a 74-game season. An additional 13% of salary deferral would still pay players the equivalent of a 63-game schedule, which seems fair considering the minimum number of games has reportedly been set at 48 by the league while the hope is that it will be closer to 60 games. In either case, players will still receive their salary beyond what they would be paid on a per-game basis.
If deferred salary is still up for negotiation, the two sides need to get moving on hammering out the details. If the league hopes to begin on New Year’s Day, players have just a matter of weeks to return to their NHL cities to quarantine before training camps can open in December. There are still a lot of details to be worked out and the owners’ financial concerns are just one small part.
Fortunately, the two sides have been in communication and it seems the NHL and NHLPA have been in agreement on many goals and possible terms for a return to play. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun adds that the NHLPA’s player representatives on the Return to Play Committee are as follows: David Backes, Darren Helm, David Savard, Justin Faulk, Lars Eller, Sam Gagner, Justin Abdelkader, Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Ron Hainsey, Claude Giroux, Ryan Dzingel, Andrew Copp, Alex Biega, Chris Kreider, Mark Scheifele. Hopefully this group can work with the league to get NHL hockey back as soon as possible and in a format that is safe and effective for the coming season.
I am usually pro-union, but the alternative is “play 65% of a season at 62% salary or play 0% season for 0% salary”
Seems like an easy choice.
Losing 23% of their salary is easier for the players making big money. It is a bigger deal for the players making league minimum. Connor McDavid would still earn nearly $10 million with that deferral. A player making $750,000 season is down to below $600,000. Sure that’s still more money than most people make, but it is a bigger impact on them than it is a star.
You know what is a bigger impact than $150,000 deferred to a later date? Not getting paid.
My comment is based on the fact that if the PA says ‘no’ to the deferral, then the possibility of making $600,000 becomes making $000,000 very real. If the NHL has no season, all contracts are null. Owners can’t ‘lay-off’ NHL players…but if you owned a business, would you pay all employees full wages if you were bleeding copious amounts of money each day? No, instead you’d close shop and save what you have. We are lucky to get any season this upcoming year.
Lots of people have been hit hard by COVID19, I don’t think those making 6 figures are the ones we need to be defending at the moment.. especially when most are making 7 figures.
Thank You Pawtucket
dave frost nhlpa
The problem is the players cave at every CBA agreement. They blink first so bad it’s like they are having a seizure. If they weren’t fleeced every time,I would instruct each player to take $1.2 million BUT roll the difference back at the end of the deal. The chip? Remove the cap and only have a floor.
I’ve also begged my clients NOT to get thrown in with the CTE/concussion lawsuit(s). If that goes away,which I’m one of the few that says so,it would make life easier in future negotiations.