The NHL's initial proposal seems ludicrous, but bear in mind that in negotiations, you are supposed to start out high with the idea that proposals will be negotiated toward a middle ground.
NHL proposal to players: 1-reduce players hockey related revenues to 46% from 57 %. 2-10 seasons in NHL before being UFA.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 14, 2012
3-contracts limites to 5 years 4-no more salary arbitration. 5- entry-level contract 5 years instead of 3.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 14, 2012
Thoughts after the jump...My initial response was that this seems as if the NHL is headed for a work stoppage or lockout, however, I would have to think that both sides recognize this set of demands as unreasonable and just a starting point to get dialogue going.
The revenue distribution is probably the most obnoxious piece considering how the game has grown in recent years. With an 11% decrease in players share, Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck states that would net the owners 300 million dollars.
It sounds like the NHL owners are really going for a cash grab. Knocking player share from 57% to 46% would net ~$300MM.— Dirk Hoag (@Forechecker) July 14, 2012
Ten seasons in the league before becoming an unrestricted free agent is just insanity. Here are some numbers on the average length of an NHL career. Many (really most) players would be just finishing up their ELC or a couple of RFA years and never hit that level. It would probably make for a hell of a lot more trading though...and then we could debate about who won/lost trades instead of how stupid it is to pay somebody (for that long, that much money, for that skillset etc.).
I can see a reasonable argument for the entry level contracts being five years and for a max length on contracts although five years seems a bit short. Some have spculated at six or seven being an ideal number.
The elimination of salary arbitration will most certainly be a sticking point if the "team control" pieces (ELC and UFA status) are to go into effect. Essentially, that would almost leave RFA's at the whim of what the team wanted to pay them...which could be below market value. Don't expect the players to vote in a system where they wouldn't have any recourse.
It's difficult to quantify any of these ideas given that they came in the form of tweets with very little detail. There would have to be professional safeguards in place to protect players from unfair workplace practices and to ensure that they are reasonably compensated, so again, this is merely a starting point...let's just hope that it isn't an overly serious one.