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Explaining the players’ desire for a higher 2013-14 salary cap

Jan 4, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT

Zach Parise, Ryan Suter Getty Images

If you’ve ever wondered why there’s such a fight over the 2013-14 salary cap despite the fact league revenues will be split 50-50 whether the cap is $60 million or $123 billion, the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle has a good explanation from the NHLPA’s perspective.

The players were aiming for a number close to $67.5-million, but this week have lowered their expectations to $65-million.

Either one of the players’ numbers would mean a portion of their salaries would likely be lost to escrow that season; the league’s number ($60 million), meanwhile, would mean free agents looking for new homes may not have many options.

Selfishly speaking, players with contracts likely want the cap lower and players without them want it higher, making this another polarizing issue for the NHLPA to deal with.

Given how negotiations have gone, however, players appear to have settled on pushing for a higher cap in order to allow freedom of movement and higher salaries, with free agents better able to sign where (and for a salary) they want.

From the NHL’s perspective, a $60 million salary cap for 2013-14 would likely force big-spending teams to shed assets. In addition, it could restrict the ability of prized free agents to sign with big-spending teams.

Given the league’s desire for (obsession with?) parity, it’s not hard to understand why it would like to see more talent spread around. While teams like St. Louis and Phoenix have been successful with relatively low payrolls, evidence suggests it’s far more difficult to win the Stanley Cup on a budget.

Related: Some GMs would welcome chance to “dismantle” teams, Bettman tells players

  1. wingsdjy - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but what is the purpose of putting a portion of the players salaries in escrow? And what determines whether or not they need to use escrow?

    • ThatGuy - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Because if the money is in the escrow account, the NHL doesn’t have to collect individual checks from the players for a portion of their salary if the NHL overpays the players as a whole. They just take what they are owed from the escrow, and any leftovers gets returned to the players.

      • wingsdjy - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        Okay, so how exactly to modern contracts work. If a player signs for $1.5M/year, does he get $1.5M plus a portion of HRR? Or does his base salary + HRR add up to something close to $1.5M?

      • woodstakes - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        wingsdjy.. A player’s NEVER EVER EVER get more then whatever the share is agreed at. So if they are guarantee’d 50% then what the league does is pay the player’s a large portion of their paycheck every 2 weeks/Month and hold a percentage of every players check in escrow. Then at the end of the year, the league figures out what the total revenue number is from HRR and then decides what percentage of players salary held in escrow do they then give to the players. So if the league holds 10% from every check and at the end of the year giving the players 8% of what they held in escrow equals 50% then all the players get is 8%. If all 10% of what they held in escrow equals 50% then the players get back all 10%. If not giving anything back out of escrow equals the players getting 50% then the players will never see that money. NOW, if the league gave back 10% and that still didn’t get the players to 50% then I don’t know what happens/where those additional funds would go.

      • woodstakes - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        Doh, or what vanchuk said LMAO. Should have scrolled down before my terrible discription!

  2. vanchuk - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM


    He would get 1.5mil minus a certain percentage that goes into the escrow fund (I think around 8-10%) At the end of the season HRR is totalled up and if the players received more than their allotted percentage, the league distributes the proper amount of escrow to the owners. Whatever is left after the owners are back to their percentage is then returned to the players. So in the previous CBA, if the players received 59% of HRR, 2% of their salaries would be given back to the owners (out of escrow monies) and the remaining 6-8% would be returned to each player.

    At least that’s my understanding of it. Hope that makes sense

    • wingsdjy - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Thanks for the explanation.

  3. paul621 - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Did I end up on a different site or something? I thought I just saw a completely helpful, civil exchange in the comments! This can’t be PHT!

  4. northstars17 - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    A deal is not going to happen this week that’s one thing I know for sure. I also know most of you naysayers will be the first to attend games when they resume next Fall. I’ll admit I’m one of them. I’m not going to let these greedy executives ruin my game of hockey. I will support my team, there is no other sport like hockey, especially live. I’ll try to watch as much free hockey as possible, but ill be attending live no doubt about it.

  5. raoool - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    wait – are you serious?! Are you tring to say that the players want more money because.. they want more money?!

    thanks for the enlightenment

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