The NHL and NHLPA remain on an undetermined schedule following today’s dismissal of the latest proposal by the league. Following a suggestion last week by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that the sides take a two week hiatus, the NHLPA instead responded this week with a proposal of their own.
One of the biggest challenges appears to be the players’ insistence on a minimum dollar guarantee, which the owners have clearly said they are not interested in supporting. The proposal today included a requirement for the cap to remain at a minimum of $67.5M as opposed to the proposed $59.9M under the league’s proposal.
Player contracting limits also remain a major sticking point, witth the league continuing to insist on maximum contract lengths – five years from NHL versus no limit from NHLPA – and variation of payments between years – league looking for maximum five percent variation.
The intent of the latter provision is to prevent clubs from paying off players in the first years of their contracts, but spreading the cost over several years, termed “back-diving”. The NHLPA proposed a more complex scheme that would see additional cap hits for deals of ten years or greater – only 16 players currently have contracts that would fit that scenario.
It is not clear where the negotiations might head next, but it’s clear that neither side appears to be really willing to concede much at this point, and we’re likely to see another round of cancellations this week.