blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: NHL Players Decline To Terminate CBA Early

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

NHL Players Decline To Terminate CBA Early

Last week the NHLPA declined to exercise their Section 3.1(b)(i) right to terminate the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement two years before its 2011 scheduled end date. So sure were the players of their decision, they responded to the NHL four months before their answer was due.

Once considered an owner victory, the CBA has delivered unanticipated player prosperity at the expense of the small market teams the salary cap structure was designed to protect. At its 2005 starting point, team payrolls were mandated to fall between a $21.5m floor and a $39m ceiling, with a minimum player salary of $450,000 (a 250% raise over pre-lockout levels) and a maximum of $7.8m (representing 20% of a team’s upper cap limit). In four short years, the payroll floor has increased 90% exceeding the 2005 cap ceiling by $1.7m.

Team Salary Cap Range ($m)
2005: 21.5 - 39.0
2006: 28.0 - 44.0
2007: 34.3 - 50.3
2008: 40.7 - 56.7

Individual Player Maximum Salary ($m)
2005: 7.8
2006: 8.8
2007: 10.06
2008: 11.34
With the individual player maximum salary rising 45% over the past four years, and the average player salary jumping from $1.8m to $2.2m during the same period, it's no wonder the NHLPA wants to maintain the CBA status quo. They've got their mind on their money.

If the relationship continues to yield such dividends, don't be surprised if the NHLPA exercises their Section 3.1(b)(ii) right to extend this pimped out agreement for an additional year beyond its 2011 term.

Don't hate the player, hate the CBA.