All rhetoric aside - there is some middle ground and room to negotiate a deal!

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by eye, Dec 15, 2004.

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  1. eye

    eye Registered User

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    IMO, the NHLPA can salvage the season and still get many concessions from the NHL in return for agreeing to a form of the soft cap that was offered to them yesterday.

    NHL/Bettman left the door open on many fronts and in a strange way, left Goodenow some room to save face and not take a total hit on his pride.

    What the NHLPA can salvage;

    Owners/Bettman would agree to 2 way arbitration with % limits both upward/downward.

    Owners/Bettman would agree to free agency at age 29

    Owners/Bettman would agree to cutting the rollback offer by 50% across the board.

    Owners/Bettman would agree to a specified bonus structure on entry level contracts.

    Owners/Bettman will agree to a 2 or 3 year phase in period for a new system to take form.

    I think owners/Bettman would agree to meet the NHLPA in the middle and increase their soft cap offer to 55.3% of gross revenue. (middle of their current offer and NHLPA's starting offer after their current rollback offer)

    owners/Bettman have left the door open a crack and now the NHLPA have to decide if they want to open the door, concede to an improved soft salary cap system that works well in other leagues like the NBA/NFL/CFL or play next year in the WHA or lower paid downsized NHL. The lessor of two evils is to negotiate on all other aspects of Bettman's proposal and concede to the systemic issue that Bettman and the owners want and will get one way or the other.
     
  2. Peter

    Peter Registered User

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    I agree, I think there is room for negotiating and if the NHLPA doesn't then they are giving the NHL, IMO, a perfect argument for declaring an impasse.

    NHLPA needs to come back with a different salary threshold: come in at a minimum of $40 million and a maximum of $60 million...it will spark disucssion and negotiation.

    Or, at the very least increase the luxury tax numbers to something that would be helpful...like a dollar for dollar tax with some sort of guarantee.

    Ask for UFA after the first entry level contract.

    Set a hard cap on bonuses for entry level contracts.

    Increase number of times in a player's life that the reverse arbitration is allowed to happen.

    Take the bulk of the rollback back: offer 15% on any contract over 3 million dollars.

    NHLPA will look stupid if they refuse to negotiate.
     
  3. MarkZackKarl

    MarkZackKarl Registered User

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    Youre kidding right? That is the worst, absolute WORST thing that could happen to the league. If you really want a horrible league, that would be the catalyst. If everyone becomes a free agent after 1 contract, what happens to all the development? Whats the point of drafting? What about the European overagers that come in at 20 or 21? Where do they go? What about the AHL? Whats the point of a developmental league if the player is a free agent after a couple years? What abuot the small markets? How does this help Ottawa or Columbus? How does it improve competitive balance? Having no players together for mroe than a couple years? How does that create chemsitry? How do lineups work? How can a coach set out a gamelpan if 40% of his roster is turned over ever year? What about trades? Will there be any trades? How does a team improve during the season?

    I hate it when any one proposes lowering the UFA age . it would be doomsday.
     
  4. Peter

    Peter Registered User

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    Totally disagree. If there is a salary cap in place it will be the only mechanism (that I can think of) that will allow teams to keep their "home grown" talent. As long as there is a ceiling of what teams can offer the players I believe that under this type of system most if not all the players will remain with their current team. That said, the UFA would be attractive to the players in the cases where a cranky GM (hello Lou) and their player agent just can't see eye-to-eye or if there is a 'life situation' which would lead a player to want to leave. This would give the opportunity to leave and not 'be stuck' with a team from 18-31. I think it would be an excellent example of give and take on the part of the union and league.

    I don't understand how, with a salary cap, the granting of UFA status after the first entry level contract would have players jumping all over the place as you predict.
     
  5. MarkZackKarl

    MarkZackKarl Registered User

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    .

    Its unfortunate that you do not understand. Oh well.
     
  6. ceber

    ceber Registered User

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    Greater supply of UFA players means the cost comes down. More teams can afford to shop for players that will improve their team.

    UFA status doesn't force players to leave, you know? In fact, with a greater supply of UFAs there's a chance players may actually stick around longer, because there won't be those big bags of money tempting a player to leave. Sure, it makes it easier for a player to leave if he wants to leave, but what's wrong with that? You're running your team poorly if players want to leave often, I say.


    What about trades? There are UFAs now and trades happen.
     
  7. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    :)
     
  8. ceber

    ceber Registered User

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    Hard to respond with quotes when you don't.


    I don't see anything in your response that says why players will be more likely to move beyond "because they can." I'm less than convinced.



    So the issue with trades is the cap, and not the UFAs, right?
     
  9. Epsilon

    Epsilon #TeamHolland

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    A simple reality of capped leagues: free agency rules must be relaxed. The teams need to flexibility of letting players walk so they can stay under the cap, while the players will simply not tolerate having both their wages and their freedom restricted. Anyone who's anticipating a league where the salaries are capped at 35 million and every player a team develops stays with them until they are 30 is dreaming.
     
  10. Peter

    Peter Registered User

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    Wow...thanks for your response. That sure sums it up for me. Yep...gotta agree with you now. :shakehead
     
  11. Peter

    Peter Registered User

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    Respectfully, you are missing a critical point. More liberal UFA rights for players will be taken advantage of, meaning more player movement, more roster upheaval, and even less ability of teams to retain their players (and maintain their success) than there is now. This has been borne out in the NFL (which has a hardcap), as well as MLB (which doesn't). As one team improves by snatching a UFA, another team takes a hit. That sound famililar? It happens all the time today! Under the scenario suggested here, it will happen even more frequently and with players at a younger age. Undoubtedly, were Bettman to ever get his way and a hardcap is instituted, the NHLPA will, in return, get a lower UFA age. Significantly. So, enjoy your hotshot 18 #1 draft pick while you can. He'll be off to another city for a better contract in five years, and meanwhile your team roster will overturn annually.

    Those are your words Trottier...I believe.

    My response:

    Why do you think that just because there is UFA after the first entry level contract that our "hotshot #1 draft pick" will natually be off to another city for a better contract in five years????? If there is a hard salary cap, which is what I was proposing along side UFA after first entry level contract, why would it assume that the young players would bolt??? If there is a salary cap it levels the playing field and any team will be able to spend the same amount of money to keep their players. What you are saying doesn't make sense.
     
  12. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    All rhetoric aside eh? Good one.

    There is a way to compromise. Wait a couple of years until the owners cave. Its all about changing their expectations.

    Bettman says why dont the union guarantee the numbers. Well onbiously because how can you guarantee the effect of a market. But the players do expect that that would start to recover that money in the marketplace because they know the owners can afford to. And making all that money available to owners to spend at once would surely cause some wild inflation. And I guess if players are going to propose revenue sharing, the snarky owners decided to tell them how their union should take their paycuts.

    Perhaps a compromise would be establishing a few RFA salary bars, like 25 yr old #1dman, 28 yr old #1 dman, 22yr old 1st line minutes forward, 26 yr old 1st line minutes forward etc. Then tie the rate of increase of those RFA salary bars to a negotiated revenue figure. So iginla as an RFA could never reset it by holding out.

    I thought there was interesting question to Bettman at his press conf. Someone was asking, How do you get competitive balance by playing the same players less? What do you say to fans like in Ottawa about what they have to look forward to for their teams.

    Bettman replied that in the end, he thinks they'll learn to like the new league. I guess our new teams too. And we thought we were only 1 missing piece from the cup. Turns out we have about 3 too many pieces.
     
  13. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    That hotshot won't necessarily be off to another team. However, if I want your hotshot player who is now a UFA (at say, age 25), I will have to clear out cap space to sign him. So what happens? Hypothetical: Kovalchuk is a free agent in a couple of years. My team, NYI, wants to sign him. They cut Parrish, Aucoin and Blake in order to free up cap space (per the NFL) and offer him more than his current team, the Thrashers, can, as they too have cap restrictions. Or else, the Thrashers, in turn, must purge their roster of Sutton, Kozlov and Stefan's contracts (cut them) in order to find space to retain Kovalchuk at his new contract level. Bottom line: I am unsure of much in the Brave New NHL moving forward. What I am sure of is this: you want a hardcap, you will have to lower the UFA age considerably. And, that, in turn, will open up the scenario described above, frequently.

    BTW, you will have to allow for players to be cut in order to allow any semblance of roster flexibility under a hardcap. In order to agree to that, the NHLPA, like the NFLPA, would insist on very liberal UFA rights. So, as I said originally, don't get too attached to your young stars.

    Hope you can make more sense out of it now.



    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2004
  14. MS

    MS Registered User

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    Take a look at the NBA and NFL, which have this sort of system. Player turnover is absolutely unreal. Teams can put together a good roster for a year or two, max, before everything falls apart because they don't have enough room under the cap and they're back to square one. No such thing as a rebuilding organization, no such thing as a great team.

    As a previous poster mentioned, it would make the whole process of drafting and developing a quality organization completely meaningless. An organization's success is based entirely on the cuts/signings they make the previous summer. If they do a good job and get a bit lucky, the team has a good season. If they do a poor job or get a bit unlucky, they miss the playoffs. Long-term building would disappear from the game forever. Exactly how it is in the NBA.

    The system now allows teams to keep their home-grown talent, moreso than in any other sport. How you think this would help is beyond me.
     
  15. ceber

    ceber Registered User

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    Putting your response inside a previous poster's quote means that when I hit the quote button to reply, your response isn't there. It's just a pain, not a big deal.

    But those leagues have very different systems. MLB has no cap and a weak tax, so rich teams can buy whomever they want for the most part. The NFL, while it has a hard cap, has no guaranteed contracts, so they can just cut players to make room for new ones. Also, game is really different and the roster strategies are a lot different.

    With guaranteed contracts and all teams spending similar amounts on their rosters I don't think you'd see nearly the movement you see in other sports.
     
  16. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    You would have to see movement unless you presume players have one salary throughout their career. If they are on a career path of rising salaries, you would have to have maximum flexiblity to accomodate your payroll rising with your players growth. The NHL will have as much movement as keeper fantasy drafts.

    Theres really no point in restricting free agency if theres a cap. And really it seems its the players that want the opportunity to grow with their team more than the owners want that. A cap has to mean much more roster movement. Theres no way around it.
     
  17. me2

    me2 Calling out the crap

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    You still have great periods of player movement in the NHL. How teams worth of players have the Canucks been through in the last 10 or or 11 years? 94 cup run to 2004 probably 60, 70, over 100 different players?

    I think the answer to question lies in other sports that have no RFA status, guaranteed contracts and a hard cap. They exist. They do have a lot of player movement, but its not horribly worse to the NHL.
    Core playes usually last with their preferred teams, much as they do in the NHL. The odd up and coming star changes for a better deal but its usually the fringe dwellors that shuffle around. Its not as if the term "journeyman" is unusal in the NHL.

    I tend to find the NFL example not a good one, there is a different mindset in hockey (IMHO). Loyalty doesn't exist in the NFL to the extent it does in the NHL. The NFL is a mercenary league for the players and the GMs. Non-guaranteed contracts just make it more mercenary. Silly signing bonuses don't seem to help stability.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2004
  18. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Well said. Wish I had been able to put it as concisely, would have saved a lot of keystrokes!

    Also, your point about owners' vs. players' desire to keep rosters intact is ironic, isn't it? Whereas I and others have called NFL players mercenaries for switching teams regularly via FA, it's actually the system proposed by NFL ownership (and being embraced today by Bettman, NHL owners and some fans as the "magic pill" to cure all ills) that encourages such instability.

    At the end of the day, for this one fan, it all comes down to that. How a hardcap system, in concert with the obvious lowering of FA rights that will come with it, will negatively impact the quality of play and competition leaguewide. I am absolutely convinced it will. (And fully recognize that it is a minority position around these parts).
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2004
  19. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe LappinMakesItHappen

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    For what it's worth, I totally agree with you. The one thing I loved about the current NHL is restricted free agency. Big money clubs only get a chance to sign elite players after their prime. I don't know if it's fair to the players, but I'm sure baseball fans would love it if the big market teams couldn't get their hands on the Beltrans and Hudsons until they were 31.

    And I honestly don't see how restricted free agency will work with the hard cap and with eliminating arbitration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2004
  20. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    Under the current system, if you applied the PA's rollback, Ottawa would be a $30mil team. With really only one UFA in the core - Alfie our captain. I am happy with our team, I think we have a chance. Under the expired system, teams can develop a $30mil championship calibre team, while at the same time, other teams are spending twice as much. Because all they can buy are players over 31. I think its a reasonable trade off. Yes if you arent winning, you will lose your 31 yr olds to free agency, and it will seem so unfair. But you had 13 years. IF you didnt become a contender before your team became free agents, its very hard to improve from there without rebuilding younger. All you can do is buy more older players. The odds are really bad. The odds are better a Team like Tampa could draft a team and develop a champ before you bought one.

    Therefore, if free agents all got $25mil, it wouldnt be unfair, because you could still develop a cham,pionship quality team for half the price, regardless of their spending or raiding your UFAs.

    Thats pretty amazing. And its big picture fair. imo
     
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