The NHL and NHL Players' Association reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement around 4:45 a.m. ET Sunday. While the deal still needs to be ratified by the players and the league, here are some of the main highlights, based on information from sources:
—The CBA will run for 10 years through Sept. 15, 2022, with a mutual option to terminate the deal after eight years.
—Players receive defined benefit pension plan.
—Owners and players split revenue 50-50 each season, with the players receiving US$300 million in deferred "make-whole payments" to ease the transition from previous system.
—A pro-rated salary cap of $70.2 million for the shortened 2012-13 season followed by a salary cap of $64.3 million—the cap is guaranteed not to drop below that number moving forward—in 2013-14. The salary floor will be set at $44 million for both years.
—Seven-year limit on free-agent contracts (eight-year limit when a team signs its own player to an extension).
—A maximum salary variance of 35 per cent from year to year, with no more than a 50 per cent total difference between any two seasons in the contract.
—The minimum salary starts at $525,000 this season and reaches $750,000 for the 10th and final year of the agreement.
—Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration who is awarded at least $3.5 million.
—Each team will be given the option of two "amnesty buyouts" that can be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal—paid evenly over twice its remaining length—and will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the individual team's salary cap.
—Revenue sharing between teams increased to $200 million annually.
—Any player on a one-way contract who plays in the American Hockey League with a salary in excess of the NHL's minimum salary plus $375,000 will have the excess amount charged against his team's salary cap.
—Unrestricted free agency continues to open on July 1.
—The participation of NHLers in future Olympics has yet to be determined. The decision will be made outside of the CBA.
—The season will run either 48 games or 50 games and will be kept entirely within the conference. Under the 48-game scenario, teams play everyone outside their division three times and an unbalanced schedule internally, with five games against two rivals and four games against two others. The 50-game scenario is more straightforward with five games versus divisional opponents and three more against everyone else in the conference.
—For the shortened 2012-13 NHL season, an April 5 trade deadline and July 5 start to free agency have been proposed. The sides have yet to formally sign off on that yet.