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Report: NHL willing to budge on some contracting issues

Nov 21, 2012, 8:42 PM EST

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NHLPA head Donald Fehr claims that the owners provided zero “reciprocity” after Wednesday’s talks ended, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun received some anonymous information outlining some of the areas where the league might budge.

First, that unnamed source outlined 10 “major” points of potential compromise. Click here for all of them, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Entry-level contracts would stay at three years; owners originally asked for two.
  • They didn’t totally give up on moving unrestricted free agency age to 28 and didn’t budge on five-year maximum deals. They did, however, show “willingness to be flexible” on year-to-year salary variation maxing out at five percent. (Whatever “flexible” means.)
  • Interestingly, the cap floor would be determined by “a percentage of the midpoint” instead of just being $16 million less than the ceiling.
  • They agreed to eliminate re-entry waivers.

There are more interesting bits in that “main” area, but there were also nine “system-related” matters. Again, some highlights:

  • The union would “get more say” in setting the escrow rate.
  • Minimum salaries would continue to increase during the CBA.
  • Perhaps most interestingly, the cap would be at $60 million in the first year (although with that $70M+ transition exception in mind) and, interestingly, a guarantee to keep it at $60 million in the second year even if the formula would call for a lower cap ceiling.

Again, these offerings aren’t official out there – like, say, the NHLPA’s proposal – but they might indicate that Gary Bettman’s claims about “momentum” are more accurate than some believe.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)

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