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Report: New CBA may include ability to trade salary and/or cap space

Nov 5, 2012, 3:41 PM EDT

Brian Burke Getty Images

“What’s in it for the players?”

It’s a question that’s been repeated over and over by NHLPA chief Donald Fehr. And it’s a fair question, given the union went into negotiations accepting its share of revenues would fall from the 57 percent it earned under the last CBA.

Well, according to the StarTribune’s Michael Russo, here’s what could be in it for the players:

Among other things, the owners have proposed to 1) artificially inflate the salary cap in Year 1 so teams don’t have to trade or release players; 2) trade player salary and cap charges in trades (this is something both teams and players have wanted); 3) eliminate re-entry waivers; 4) Increase revenue sharing with further increases as revenues grow, and the top grossing teams making the biggest contributions (revenue sharing is something Don Fehr is passionate about; wants it so the teams that really need assistance are assisted); 5) Introduction of appeal rights to a neutral third-party arbitrator in cases involving on- and- off-ice discipline (player-proposed wish).

Some other things that the players should like:

1) Joint NHL/NHLPA Health and Safety Committee with equal representation by the league and union; 2) Establishment of a “standard of care” and “primary allegiance” obligations between the team medical staff and players (this is directly due to the tragic Derek Boogaard situation that remains ongoing); 3) Offseason rehab activities would no longer be required in the team’s home city; 4) Players have access to second medical opinions at the club expense; 5) Ice time restrictions and days off during training camp; 5) Improved facility standards in visiting locker rooms; 6) Ice condition improvements and standards; 7) More player friendly rules for parent-son trips, teams would have to pay for parents travel and lodging to first-ever games, other milestones; 8) Different standards for rent and mortgage reimbursements from teams; 9) increased access to tickets for visiting players and also a game ticket policy that minimizes the tax impact on players; 10) And also, the league has agreed to consider a player proposal for single rooms for all players on the road, which would be thousands of extra dollars spent on travel. Typically, players share rooms on the road unless you’re a longstanding player (600 games), or in a lot of cases, goaltenders.

Lots of interesting stuff there, perhaps none more interesting than No. 2 in the first paragraph – “trade player salary and cap charges in trades.”

It’s not clear exactly what that may entail, and obviously there would be limits.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke, one of the NHL’s most eager deal-makers, has been a proponent of being allowed to trade players while maintaining responsibility for part of their salary. But the league, which prides itself on competitive balance, has been hesitant to allow rich clubs to gain too much of an advantage over others.

That said, the ability for budget-conscious franchises to trade unused cap space for draft picks and/or prospects may serve to increase parity in the long run.

And for the players’ sake, more trade flexibility could allow those stuck in bad situations to escape for fresh starts elsewhere.

And for PHT’s sake, more trades mean more clicks, so we’re on board.

Related: NHLPA proposal would allow teams to “trade cap space”

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