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Report: Owners make bold initial CBA proposals

Jul 13, 2012, 10:18 PM EDT

Fehr-Bettman-Getty Getty Images

While the NHL and NHLPA haven’t gone public with the specifics of their CBA talks, RDS’ Renaud Lavoie shares some of the owners’ initial offerings. One can imagine that the players probably find many of the details pretty hard to swallow, with a significant decrease in their share of the revenue being the headline-grabber. (Honestly, if the owners are dead serious about these terms, then you have every right to fear a lockout. Yikes.)

Here are the five points that Lavoie shared. Please note that he didn’t provide an official source, though. I’ll provide some of my own initial feedback when appropriate.

1. Owners propose that players should reduce their share of the revenue from 57 percent to 46, an 11 percent decrease.

Thoughts: money is the king with these types of negotiations so expect the revenue split to be one of the biggest points of contention. Donald Fehr has expressed getting a bigger piece of the pie and considering the NHL’s tendency to boast about earnings, the NHLPA will have some serious leverage there.

2. Owners want players to go through 10 NHL seasons before they qualify for unrestricted free agency.

Thoughts: another … ambitious goal. It’s pretty tough to imagine this happening considering that limiting UFA status to 27 already hinders a player from signing many big deals.

3. Contract length limited to five years.

Thoughts: Maybe that exact length will change, but I’d guess this would be a less contentious point.

4. No more salary arbitration.

Thoughts: It’s tough to imagine this happening, although players might be willing to wait until an older age to have this option or some other similar compromise.

5. Owners want entry-level contracts to last five years instead of three.

Thoughts: Rookies are often the biggest losers in CBA talks for a simple reason: they aren’t there. That’s why rookie maximums are becoming more common in sports. It wouldn’t be surprising if active players relent on this one, at least if there’s a grandfather clause. Five years might be a bit much, too, though. In an odd way, this is one of the greediest demands from owners because a rookie maximum already provides outstanding savings.


Hopefully this initial offer is like a stereotypical haggling situation with owners starting off with excessive demands but reason in the back of their minds. The first point will likely be the most fought-over one, but all five reveal varying degrees of hubris.

It’s a bit scary, especially if there’s not much interest in compromise. I’d wait before having too many nightmares about a lockout, yet it’s an unsettling set of provisions. What do you think, though?

  1. kegmen7 - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    57% to 46% is an 11% drop- not 9….sh&%! did I just make a lockout more likely?

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Jul 14, 2012 at 8:14 AM

      Actually, I think it’s a 19.3% drop (46/57).

  2. stakex - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    What makes the first point so scary is that the playersclearly want to get a LARGER share of the revenue… not give up 9% more. So its not like the sides are a couple percentage points apart.

    With that said, this is clearly a list of demands the owners know they will never get. They are just trying to set their position as high as possible in an effort to get as much as they can. I’m not concerned…. yet.

    • James O'Brien - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      Thanks for the note, I decided to tweak the headline (and fix the percentage). Same basic point.

  3. pftbillsfan - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Half the teams in the league could be retracted and no one would care. The semi finals lost to reruns of nick at nite shows, forget revenue percentages. Increase fan and viewer enjoyment, leave the sideshow landscape of jokes for penalties on potentially life altering cheap shots and showcase skill. I love hockey, but if these are the main points of contention there is a bigger problem. By the way, the whole ratings are up and so is revenue is legalese smartly included by nhlpa leadership last cba talks. Nielsen ratings don’t carry weight anymore and not factoring team debt against revenue is like not counting fat when weighing yourself. Open up the game, allow stars to score 75 goals a year, get a bigger ice surface, get in Las Vegas and Seattle. Reduce the season to 60 games and the teams by 8. Imagine 48 top 6 forwards being supplementally drafted. 4 lines of skill on every team.

  4. bensawesomeness - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Alot of these seem….really unreasonable.

  5. blackhawkslove - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    I laughed so hard at these proposals

    • paledevil - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM

      yea but when the jokes not funny anymore it beings an insult

  6. jimw81 - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    All you can do know is just laugh at nhl proposals, Especially with Craig Leipold sitting in the room.

  7. firemarshal1 - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    My prediction is revenue split will be at 52 percent going to the players. The free agency will be at 28 years old, rookie contracts will be four years. Like or not, NHLPA should take it. Remember, if you weren’t playing hockey do think you could make the same amount money doing something else on the outside in the real world? Economy is still, people are still hurting.

  8. blomfeld - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:04 AM


    Another indicator friends that “all” will be well ! Personally, I have “every” confidence that Gary will be able to strike an “agreeable” accord together with comrade Fehr ! Just stop and think about it for a second … with lone exception of NFL and collegiate football, our “wonderful” game of NHL hockey is the only sport out there today, which is actually “growing” human attendance ! And we all know that’s is in “no small way” owing to the tremendous efforts of Gary and his staff !

    GO BETTMAN GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    *** special video selection for Bettman and Fehr ***

    • paledevil - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      HOLY Cow you MAGNIFICENT BEAUTY you and your guys did it WTG !!!

      Now that thats out of the way Seeing as there will be no season until 2013 Form a Stanley cup defense regiment in case the Owner Try to repo it…

  9. mikeincmn - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    At this point the question shouldnt be, will there be a lockout? Rather, it should be how long of one?

  10. thecgroup - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    When do us fans get to declare our demands during the cba? Oh thats right, its not about us…..

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    The owners decided to fire the opening shot so they had to do so emphatically. A guy at a big-time Canadian hockey network is leaked this? I wonder how that happened. One of the owners must speak French or something.

    Surely there’s no way they’re serious…and don’t call them Shirley.

  12. ravenscaps48 - Jul 14, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    The Owners are just fishing to see how low can they go. The NHLPA would never agree to any of these terms, but the Owners would probably want to meet somwhere in the middle…. This is just like every episode of Pawn Stars. Yeah, that battle ax from the 15th century is believed to be worth $20,000… I’ll offer you $3,000…… SAME THING GOING ON HERE!

  13. chiadam - Jul 14, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Unlike Pawn Stars, the CBA negotiations are actually real. No actors involved.

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      I was just giving a somewhat decent example to relate to the common folk. That’s all I was trying to do… Carry on.

  14. ewampus - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    sweet that lost year of hockey is really looking like it was really worth it

  15. irishjackmp - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    One thing the NFL and NBA negotiations should have taught the NHLPA…. millionaires can’t outlast billionaires at the negotiating table. Players can puff their chest out all they want about “no rollbacks” but the reality is, with the NFL and NBA at 50/50 splits, there is no way the NHLPA is getting to stay at 57%.

    The league obviously offered 46% so they have some room to move up their offer but I doubt the league goes past 50% seeing how owners in other leagues were successful playing hardball in negotiations.

  16. odj810 - Jul 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    after this initial proposal I will defanetly be on the players side in this lockout. Both sides have stated things are working well and they just need to work out a few kinks and issues. That strikes me as a drastic change.

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