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NHLPA Set To Offer 'Alternative Proposal' To Owners Tuesday; Summary Of Negotiations To This Point

With just over a month remaining prior to the expiration of the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL Player’s Association reaffirmed on Monday that the group will finally be presenting the NHL a counter-offer on Tuesday to the initial proposal presented by the league.

However, NHLPA head Donald Fehr has stated that rather than viewing the offer as a “counter-proposal”, he and the group he represents view it more as an alternative proposal.

Considering this, here is a look at the current timeline for the negotiations to this point, including the initial offer presented by the NHL:

Late on July 12, the NHL ‘fired the first shot’ when they reportedly offered a proposal that heavily favored the owners’ desires.

The proposal reportedly made the following requests:

-Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) was to favor the owners by a margin of 54-46, which was a drastic shift from the 57-43 split that was in place under the current CBA.

-In addition, HRR was going to be redefined in the new agreement, which would further cut the amount of revenue that the players would have access to (some outlets have reported that this would create a 57-43 split in the owners favor).

-Players would have to wait 10 seasons prior to becoming an Unrestricted Free Agent.

-Contracts would be limited to five-year maximum lengths.

-Entry-Level Contracts would be extended to five-years in length rather than three.

-No salary arbitration.

-No signing bonuses.

-Same salary in each year of the contract (to eliminate front or back loaded deals).

-The upper limit of the salary cap would be set $4 million over the mid-point, while the lower limit of the cap would be set at $8 million below the mid-point.

On July 30, the NHL supplied the NHLPA with 76,000-plus documents of financial records at the union’s request. 

On Aug. 9, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirms that the NHL has played it’s final game under the guidelines of the current CBA and if a new CBA is not in place by Sept. 15, then the players will be locked out by the league.

Fehr had previously stated that the Sept. 15 expiration date is not a 'magical date' and that the NHLPA is willing to play without a new CBA in place, as long as the negotiations are progressing (however, he clarified at a later date that he was merely raising a legal point, rather than making a definitive statement).

With Aug. 14 offering the first glimpse into where the players officially stand on all the issues being discussed, Tuesday will likely be a strong indicator of whether the NHL season has any chance of starting on time.
 
While speculation has run rampant to this point, once the NHLPA makes an offer it will be far easier to gauge how far apart the two sides actually are on the prevailing issues.

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