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Report: NHL willing to move on contract variance, with key stipulation

Jan 4, 2013, 9:03 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

The issue of contract variance — the amount a player’s salary can vary from season-to-season and start to finish in a multi-year deal — might be one that leads to some of the most noticeable post-lockout changes from a fan perspective.

Several teams took advantage of the old CBA’s loose rules when it came to how a contract could be structured to heavily front-load deals. That’s likely to change, but to what extent remains to be seen.

About a month ago, the NHL wanted to limit contract variance to 5%, but when it recently re-opened talks, it moved up to 10%. Now it looks like the NHL might be willing to go as high as 30% in terms of season-to-season variance, based on a CBC report.

The catch? They want the total variance capped at 60% of the highest-paid campaign.

In other words, Shea Weber, who was slated to earn $14 million in 2012-13 would have never been allowed to earn less than $8.4 million in any season of his contract if this proposed rule had existed last summer. Weber’s deal is heavily front-loaded and consequently, his cap hit is $7,857,143 despite his high initial salary.

The NHL’s reported offer is something the union might take issue with, as they previously wanted the minimum level to be 25% of the highest-paid season, according to the Globe and Mail.

Meanwhile, the NHL and NHLPA are expected to meet with mediators again today.

  1. bcsteele - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    I’ve been a heavy supporter of the players during this mishap, though I think it’s time to simply just get something done for the sake of the fans…

    That said, I’m starting to see a truly fair deal form that can sustain the league and still treat the players alright, they need to start getting over some of these things and just get something done.

  2. bruinsfan19 - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    ^^^ Agreed

  3. sportsfan69 - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Unfortunately, the players are more worried about themselves than the fans and the game of hockey. They already have a better deal than the NBAPA and NFLPA. Both of those leagues make better money for than the NHL. Something got to give. The players don’t seemed to really care about the overall financial health of the league.

    Show me one time that the players demonstrated a concern towards the league and it’s fans as it relates to finances. You won’t find it. Revenue sharing is not applicable in regards to finances. I’m referring to controlling player salaries. So that players like Wade Redden and Scott Gomez contracts don’t become the normal. We the fans, eventually paid for those ridiculous salaries by the gate (tickets) and parking receipts.

    • villi5ed - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      “Revenue sharing is not applicable in regards to finances.”

      Maybe the most empty, meaningless, ridiculous sentence I have read since, well, Joey was here.

    • calithirteen - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      last time I checked the owners make the contracts? They are their own worst enemy and they locked out the players not the other way around. Of all pro sports, the nhl has the worst revenue sharing causing small market teams to struggle to keep up w/ big market teams but they want to blame that struggle on contracts that they made w/ players? remember no one forced the islanders to give a 15 year, multi million dollar contract to Rick DiPietro

  4. sportsfan69 - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM


    Why don’t you provide a solution? Revenue sharing is only shifting money away from the top 8 clubs that are making money. It doesn’t resolve the number one issue, escalating player salaries.

    So before you critique me, why don’t you provide a solution to the forum?

    • elvispocomo - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      Move Phoenix, Florida, Columbus. I thought the answer was obvious to everyone but the NHL.

      The teams that are losing the most money and require the most revenue sharing are the drain on the clubs that make the most money, not the players for suggesting those that made hundreds of millions last year should contribute more to the pool.

    • tatdue - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      I know this solution might be a little tough for a lot of the owners but it does seem to work well for the rest of the business world……It’s called proper business management ~ They (the owners) should try it sometime it would do wonders for their profit margins! Tell me sportsfan69, when is the last time you turned down a raise for the benefit of your employer?

  5. cruzingchris - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    No matter how you look at it, the players deserve the money they are getting. They physically put their bodies out there, for our enjoyment. Baseball players are way overpaid for what they do. They don’t risk concussions every game. They don’t risk damage to their brains, a puck to the face or shattered teeth. So making sure they are taken care of in the long term is important. I am just like any other NHL fan, who want’s hockey back. Players are some of the most accessible friendly people who take the time to meet with fans. Because they know, without us, they have nothing. The players deserve to be taken care of by a solid pension and healthcare. I don’t agree with the heavy loaded contracts, but the players deserve what they get. SI interviewed 50 retired hockey players a year ago, and the majority said they have effects from playing, and that medical care is needed.

    • aaronmeeker0228 - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      To compare baseball and hockey is absurd. To qualify it further by stating that hockey players deserve even furthers the absurdity.

      MLB is very profitable and the “work days” coupled with overall profitability lead to higher salaries. Just because hockey players play a more violent sport doesn’t translate to higher salaries.

      Why aren’t military personnel the highest paid federal workers?

      The fact is that the other three “major” sports can afford higher salaries due to revenue and ultimately a bottom line in the black more often than not. Look at the average values of NHL clubs compared to the other sports.

      • jtrain1966 - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:14 AM

        Agreed ! Couldn’t have said any better .

  6. sportsfan69 - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I’m been all for the player’s health and retirement. But these front loaded and extended contracts are destroying the finances of the game. It’s circumventing the rules. The players know it. That’s a fact.

    • calithirteen - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      again….the owners create the contracts not the players. They are their own worst enemy. No one put a gun to the owners and said sign this contract. IF they have such a problem w/ front loaded contracts why do they allow it to happen? Because they know if they don’t make that contract for a big player, another owner will. They are a joke and are destroying the NHL.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      There’s one group to put the blame on when it comes to the massive, length, back diving contracts we saw in the last CBA. The NHL. The NHL has approval rights for all contracts, and they should have denied the first contracts with the structure of 10+ years, taking players to around or above their 40’s, and having years of minimal worth (~$1M) after initial years of $7M-10M (and up).

      The first was Zetterberg, then came Hossa the same year, then Luongo the following year. Once the NHL approved the first two and that season began, there was no way to go back and say those deals were bad. Only when the Kovy deal took it a small step further could the NHL draw the line in the sand, but that did nothing from preventing the owners offering the same types of contracts just under that line.

      Sure the players took those deals and have some responsibility in this, but the owners offered them and the NHL accepted them. Who’s really at fault in that regard?

  7. bokun59elboku - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    The best players have given up their right to earn as much as possible by agreeing to a salary cap. The best players have put aside their greed for the betterment of the game and their lesser skilled brethren; same cannot be said of owners who refuse to fair revenue sharing with each other. That tells you all you need to know. Ex: Sidney Crosby. How much do you think he could command on an open market? Can I have someone say Rangers offer him 20-30 million a year? Of course. The Rangers could easily afford a team payroll of close to 150 million.

    • duster1982 - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Are you kidding me? This lockout is BECAUSE of the best players. 90% of the issues they are fighting over only affect the top 10% of the players. If they truly cared about their lesser skilled brethren making league minimum, this thing wouldve been over before it started.

      I dont feel bad for the lesser players tho. If they were smart, they wouldve stood up and been heard a long time ago. Only themselves to blame.

      • calithirteen - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        How can this be the best player’s fault when the owners gave them the contracts they have? Why should they take a paycut after getting a contract? So I guess if you were hired at a job making $80,000/year for 5 years you wouldn’t mind if your boss came to you 2 years in and said you have to take a 50% paycut to keep lesser skilled workers employed here! You my friend are truly a team player!

  8. broadstbully33 - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:03 AM


  9. cruzingchris - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    The Los Angeles Kings stay champions for another year…GO KINGS GO!!!!

    • elvispocomo - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      I’m not sure you understand how this works…

      In the event a lockout cancels the season, the trustees of the Stanley Cup (not the NHL, as they don’t own the Cup, just have the right to present it each year) can decide to allow the Cup to be awarded to another team outside of the NHL. That would mean a different Stanley Cup champion for this hockey season.

      Even if they didn’t award it elsewhere, the Kings don’t get to be champions for this year as well, just the last team to be awarded the Cup.

  10. cruzingchris - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    I blame the Sedin twins….nothing good happens with those two dirty gingers.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      And it appears we have a new but less intelligent Joey.

  11. acieu - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Is his new handle Elvispocomo?

    • tatdue - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Awww, does someone miss his Joe-Joe? lol

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