NHL / NHLPA CBA talks include escrow cap and deferral for players


New York Ranger star Artemi Panarin dropped a bomb on Thursday afternoon with a fiery post on social media.

This raised the question, “What made him so upset?” ”

During a period of COVID-19 peaks, an increasing number of positive tests in all sports and the clock approaching the scheduled opening of the NHL camps on July 10, players will soon vote on an extension of the ABC.

According to several sources, the potential agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA is capped at 20% for the 2020-21 season. Initial estimates were sequestering at 35 percent if this year did not end, 27-28 even if that was the case.

But there is a second layer: a 10% salary deferral in a single season by each player. I am told that this is not a step back. Players will receive this money in the future. The advantage for them is that the escrow would be lower.

These are elements of a much more complicated puzzle. A source compared it to a “payment plan you could negotiate with your credit card company.” From a property perspective, every dollar owed to the 50-50 income split teams will be refunded from the ABC balance.

As part of the deal, the salary cap will remain close to the current $ 81.5 million for the next three seasons. It could increase by $ 1 million in 2022-2023.

Since this is a CBA, the constitution of the NHLPA requires that each player obtain a vote. It is expected, as Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported on Thursday, that Return to Play will be closely linked to the ABC, which means players will vote on security and financial protocols at the same time. A simple majority suffices for a “yes”.

It’s a very big decision. There are more than 700 players and I would be lying if I told you that I have said enough about them to know how they will vote. The fact that many have returned from Europe or are considering doing so is seen as a positive sign.

But in recent weeks there have been several emotional calls among members of the NHLPA. It’s not easy, with so many unknowns about the lasting effects of COVID-19. (The NHL and the AJLNH are working on a “withdrawal” language for those who do not want to play.) One team was opposed to the return until a passionate speech by one of its most respected players changed gives it. Several players (and some agents) have said that they will never have more leverage than today, and should use it.

Panarin is in this camp, apparently.

Now, not all players are of the same opinion, and many agents either. His post did not receive universal approval, with many calling it “unwise”. They also dislike having the union show public conflict because it shows weakness. What it reveals is the conflicting feelings that go through joining a union.

“I would tell you that I would probably not be comfortable voting at that time,” Carey Price told reporters in Montreal on Thursday. “There are still a lot of questions to be answered … The NHL and the NHLPA are trying to make the most of a very difficult situation. So to get ahead – and I would like to play – we have a lot of questions to answer and a lot of scenarios that need to be covered before you vote yes or no. ”

In March, the NFLPA went through a very public battle before voting on its new CBA. Leading stars like Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt and Russell Wilson have publicly said “no”. Their side lost 1,019-959, extending the deal to 2030. It is very slim for such a vote.

Those who know more than I do think it will follow a similar pattern. We will find out in the next few days.


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