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Report: Owners’ first proposal would eliminate signing bonuses

Jul 14, 2012, 12:21 AM EDT

Minnesota Wild Introduce Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - Press Conference Getty Images

Earlier tonight, we passed along word on the NHL owners’ rather … bold opening CBA proposals. While it’s important to note that this could be a classic example of starting off negotiations with sky-high asking prices, it’s still fascinating to find out these details (even if it makes many of us shiver with lockout fear). The New York Post’s Larry Brooks passes along another interesting detail: owners also want to get rid of signing bonuses and keep salaries uniform throughout a given contract.

Post has learned proposal would eliminate signing bonuses and mandate same salary in each season with 5-yr term limit.

The five points we discussed earlier already displayed varying degrees of absurd, yet eliminating signing bonuses is up there in the “hubris” category. Uniform salaries isn’t quite as crazy (especially considering the wacky disparity displayed in many cap-circumventing contracts), but it might just be the most direct example of owners essentially protecting them from themselves.

(Brooks also points out that the salary cap floor would be closer to the ceiling than it is under current circumstances, which might be the strangest provision without knowing the full context of the proposed salary cap.)

Again, many have pointed out that this first offer shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s almost like the Christmas wish list of a naive child; owners basically want a pony, a Playstation 3, their own Ferris Wheel, a full set of action figures and a lifetime supply of pudding.

For those of us trying to avoid lockout nightmares tonight, we just hope that they narrow their list down to some more realistic “gifts.” Asking to get rid of signing bonuses probably ranks in the “pony” category, although for a group that includes some billionaires, perhaps nothing seems too extravagant.

  1. somekat - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    I’d have to agree. They will get the uniform contracts, that only makes sense the way some of the deals were made to obviously get around the cap (The Pronger deal comes to mind with a few years at like 400k at the end, of the Kovy deal the league vetoed), but giving up signing bonuses is a major chip. Not as big as it would be in football for example, because the contracts are still guranteed. So althugh they will lose the up front cash, they will still get it. An NFL player can’t say that for sure.

    My guess is they just brought this up so that when they start negotiations, they will cave on it, and try to call it a “concession”

  2. capesouth - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    I think it’s easy to overreact to this sort of thing immediately. People tend to lean towards the dramatic conclusion..which is there being a lockout. These are ridiculous requests and this will probably be dragged out until the season is about to begin but I think it will get solved. Those involved would be absolutely insane to allow for another lockout and the second in less than a decade. The NHL, I think, is doing incredibly well right now and for people to be unable to resolve this, thus damaging any momentum the game has gained, would be disappointing and plain ridiculous. They have to find common ground. It’s not like owners and players havent thought about this until now. There is no reason this should get to the lockout stage. And to be corny and selfish, this game is nothing w/o the fans and a lockout would damage much of the goodwill fans have now. It is owners and players fighting over money the fans give them. So, give the fans what they want which is a full NHL season.

  3. stakex - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Its too early to get worked up over anything reguarding the CBA talks.

    Though I do agree with uniform contracts. These idiotic contracts where a player makes $12 million for the first year and $1 million later in the deal is a joke. We all know why they do that, and it should be stopped. Want to have super stars on your team? You should be forced to deal with a cap hit that truely reflects what your paying them.

  4. craigmaitland - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    What’s wrong with “deals to get around the cap?” make a 6 yr limit on contracts and hire a capologist. Don’t understand why all pro leagues don’t try to copy the NFL model.

  5. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    I want more info. Will the players be able to keep their dental plan? Did Bettman send hired goons to Fehr’s house? Where’s my burrito?

  6. biasedhomer - Jul 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Please just remove the salary cap, and you solve the problem of these 10+ year contracts. Just have a salary floor.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      The salary floor is a much bigger problem than the salary cap, in theory the salary cap allows all teams the chance to sign any free agent, hell Minnesota just signed the 2 biggest this year, before the cap era there were only a handful of teams signing free agents because they would just spend as much as they wanted…although it didn’t usually help those teams win.

      The salary floor though forces teams to spend more than they comfortably can because big revenue teams (actually its mostly Toronto) skew the revenue the league makes and raise the salary floor based on that number rather than what individual teams make.

      • blomfeld - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:48 AM

        “hell, Minnesota just signed the 2 biggest this year” …

        yeah and Minnesota has also just blown it’s own financial brains out ! … Suter and and Parise are at best nothing more than a couple of b-grade clowns who will ensure that the Wild make the playoffs over the next 2-3 years … and “whoppy-doo” to that, as half the teams in the league are doing that now regardless … I say remove “all” caps including maximums and minimums and let “that which will be, be”… the French refer to this as “laissez-faire” as do economists … personally however, I refer to it as allowing the “greedy pigs” to fall on their own swords !

  7. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    “a lifetime supply of pudding”……………what an awesome request!….mmmmmmmmm pudding

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    I’m a fan of limited terms of contracts and making the salary the same in every year but I’m not convinced signing bonuses need to go. If they want to get rid of them (which I’m not convinced they are I think it’s just a bargaining chip) they don’t need to outlaw them they just need to make it so the signing bonus counts fully against the cap in the year paid, that will pretty much kill them without actually doing so.

    I’m relatively sure that the NHLPA’s first proposal will include a much bigger profit sharing system for teams, which the NHL will balk at but is something the owners will have to eventually do if they’re serious about keeping 30 teams in their current locations. It’s great that the NHL had revenues over $3 billion last year but that means nothing when more than half the teams are losing money.

  9. DTF31 - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    And players signing for nothing less than 9 million begins. The owners will be complaining about how much they have to pay players because they can’t add the bogus years anymore.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 14, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      They’re paying them the same now the bogus years are just to circumvent the cap, I won’t feel bad for either side of they get rid of these fake years.

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