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Report: NHL and NHLPA agree to move free agency start date, trading cap space

Nov 20, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT

NHL and NHLPA logo

We know the talk between the owners and players has been littered with talk about how far apart they are on many issues, but there is common ground being reached.

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star reports the two sides have “more or less” agreed on a number of issues and some of them are pretty fun.

  • Moving the start of free agency to June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup has been awarded, whichever is later.
  • Ability to trade salary cap space and give teams better ability to get out from loaded deals.
  • Elimination of re-entry waivers.
  • Neutral third-party arbitrators to weigh in on on-and-off-ice punishment.
  • A joint health committee.
  • Minimum roster requirements so teams couldn’t dress fewer players to dodge salary cap problems.

While none of these have much to do with the major problems causing issues in negotiations, they’re still interesting.

Free agency being moved to right after the season ends takes a page out of Major League Baseball’s book as their method is somewhat similar. It also moves the start of free agency off of July 1, a national holiday in Canada. That’s something a lot of players, agents, and executives would be ecstatic about.

Cutting out the ability to dump guys in the minors to save on cap space is one that’s been discussed before. Dealing away cap space to help move guys with monster deals will help make sure guys with NHL deals can stay out of the minors.

  1. deadrabbit79 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I guess you have to start somewhere

    • phillyphanatic77 - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      Atleast they’re acting civil enough to make minor agreements, instead of crying to the media about the other side being the problem. Although I’m sure that’ll start again soon.

  2. DTF31 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I like the idea of free agency before the draft. Would make the draft sort of like a summer trade deadline day.

    The only thing that surprised me about the FA change is that it’s a hard date still. I thought it was gonna be like the NBA where there is a few days to negotiate so teams aren’t as panicked into signing a 3rd liner to 5 mil. I guess the PA prefers that however.

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    This is very good news for guys who rise up from nowhere to have a great playoffs before fading back into obscurity (Fernando Pisani) they can now cash in before GM’s have a chance to take a step back.

  4. savior72 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    I like the no re-entry waivers clause. Twice my team picked up guys that would have helped our team due to injury only to have them claimed from a team in our division and then get sent to their minor league team. So I’m all for that.

    • jtrain1966 - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      I’m betting you’re referring to the Stl. Blues ! Which I’m a fan of to & those situations flat $&@/ing sucked !

  5. dhillca - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:43 PM


    • desertfan - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      so right


  6. DTF31 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Does that waiver thing basically eliminate the waiver wire then?

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      I don’t think so, I took it as players just don’t have to be put on waivers every time they’re sent down and called back up. But a team could still waive a player hoping he’ll get picked up…at least that’s my assumption.

  7. id4joey - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    atwatercrushesokoye, they are pulling in the free agency date to move it away from a national holiday. Has nothing to do with players cashing in before GMs take a step back. Teams know which free agents they want to pursue way before the end of the playoffs.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      Oh really…I had no idea…I assumed everyone made all decisions on a whim…

  8. id4joey - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    The 2005 NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement introduced re-entry waivers. With limited exceptions, any player who was subject to waivers before assignment to the minors must clear re-entry waivers before being called back up. In other words, you must clear waivers when being sent down but not when being called up.

    • DTF31 - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Okay so they would still go on waivers to be sent back to the AHL but not to be called from it. Works in the players favour as teams would be paying more big salary bucks unless they know he won’t be claimed. Works for the owners, against other owners, as they won’t have to worry about losing a player they want as an injury replacement to a rival trying to screw them over.

    • blomfeld - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      Joey – Thank you for spelling that out so “clearly and concisely” for us ! Just one question though. How can you possibly get 5 x thumbs down for a “quality” submission like that ? I hate to say this, but I do believe that this website is now being visited by a very “angry & jealous” type of reader ? … or an “infestation” of jealous “creatons” if you will. Anyway, great job as always and thanks again for keeping us informed with your intelligent and factual commentary ! :)

      ps: I just received a message from my old friend Stransky this evening in which he simply said … “from darkness comes the light” … not sure about you, but I’ve got a feeling that something’s going down right now ?

      • id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 3:02 AM

        blom, 8 thumbs down now. Crazy! Eh! I’ve not waived once from my conviction there would be a shortened season. I will remain hopeful a resolution will come until I see “Game over: NHL cancels season” as reported in 2005 on CBC, February 16, 2005. Lots of time remaining my friend. Lots of time. Keep in mind that back then the issues dividing the PA and ownership were much bigger than now. Do you remember “cost certainty”?

      • mgp1219 - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:41 AM

        isn’t it cute how blomfeld & id4joey now have pet names for each other?

        hey “blom”, please just go away and take “Joey” and all of you superfluous “quotation marks” with you. you’re posts are completely self serving and pretentious, eminating from emotional instability and delusions of grandeur.

  9. jimw81 - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    owners gave into the players on 3 issues, Ability to trade salary cap space and give teams better ability to get out from loaded deals, Neutral third-party arbitrators to weigh in on on-and-off-ice punishment(sucks for shanaban) and Minimum roster requirements so teams couldn’t dress fewer players to dodge salary cap problems.

    solve ‘make whole’ and core economics issues and we got hockey folks

    • jimw81 - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:10 AM

      moving the free agency date is classic fehr move to setup and give up from the players.

  10. proudliberal85392 - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Are we getting closer to getting this thing settled…I hope. Blomfeld, thoughts? Are my Yotes and your Kings going to be going at it anytime soon?

    • blomfeld - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      Achtung Proudliberal !

      Hey man, sorry about my calls for relocation of the Coyotes and such, as I didn’t realize you were a fan of theirs ? What the hell was I saying ? Heck, the NHL should be in “multiple” Arizonan cities like Flagstaff, Yuma, Tucson, Nogales and Tombstone, just to name a few off the top of my head ! Seriously friend, I do think something’s finally happening and I do think that the “Battle of Interstate 10” is about to start up again ! :)

      GO COYOTES GO !!!

  11. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    mpg, I’m awe struck by your insightful and intellect post. Please don’t keep us waiting more.

    • mgp1219 - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      well, “Joey” (can I call you Joey or is that only for “blom”?),

      There was one grammatical mistake in my last post, but I guess you didn’t catch it.

  12. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Well! Today is a big day for the PA. Their true colors will be revealed based on the proposal they will present this morning 10am. Now, if they are totally off the mark, then it will be another short meeting. If the players insist on any sort of guaranteed returns over percentage of HRR, then you can expect the NHL to announce later today the cancellation of all games from Dec 1 to 14. If not, then they will be in a negotiation marathon trying to resolve this conflict by the end of this week. What will it be for the players? Another lost pay check or an agreement?

  13. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    mpg, I’m surprised you didn’t grace the Predators’ “Smashmob” article with your irrelevant & useless comments. I figure only you can spew dirt on something positive

    • mmcneels81 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      speaking of irrelevant and useless… people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  14. valoisvipers - Nov 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    There are 2 points in which I do not agree with, the first being that they would have the
    ability to trade salary cap space and give teams better ability to get out from loaded deals.
    I feel this would be a loophole that would allow the richer teams to circumvent the salary cap and this would hurt league parity.
    The second being that neutral third-party arbitrators to weigh in on on-and-off-ice punishment. Although a minor objection, I just feel no one takes care of your things in this case your business like you do. Besides we would all miss the Shanahammer jokes.

  15. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Oh! The ASG may also get the axe today with the 2 weeks in Dec if the PAs proposal is off the mark. But for the people in Columbus loosing out on the ASG, it’s no big deal.

  16. proudliberal85392 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    blomfeld, you kill me! Let the Battle of I-10 start soon!

  17. dswidzinski - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Ok, so how I read this deal is, teams will only have two days to negotiate contracts? I don’t think thats too fair for the two Stanley Cup teams who will want to be celebrating instead of frantically trying to resign their players.

    I like the way it is already: the Stanley Cup, a couple weeks later, the Draft, then a couple days later, the Free Agency.

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