The NHL announced their first offer of this summer’s (and hopefully no longer) contract negotiations this summer to the NHLPA last night. While it is only the first offer, the offer proposed is quite the lowball, with key figures including a 11% drop in revenue sharing to 44% and 10 years before players can become UFAs.
Now, before we all stick our heads in the oven over what looks like to be a long and painful CBA, one must consider that this is only a first offer and this is how negotiations work. The NHL will always lowball the NHLPA in this situation. However, this looks like Gary Bettman and the owners are more than willing to forfeit 3 months of the season to long, painful negotiations.
The low ball offer is a slap in the face to the players, our players that we develop silly obsessions over, that we buy jerseys of, and that we stand in lines to meet and have our picture taken with. It is easy to make the argument that it is millionaires bickering with billionaires, but the players should be given respect. They put their health on the line for this game, they travel ridiculous hours, and to just be given an offer with what has already been mentioned as well as a 5 year limit for contracts and an end to arbitration is absurdity.
I guess we now must wait to see if Gary Bettman declared war on the NHLPA, or if this mess will be wiped away with the next offer. Myself and the rest of the Sabre Noise team will continue following this story. Let’s all hope it has a short arc.