The entire membership of the NHLPA will vote on an NHL return-to-play plan, which could also include extending the CBA, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
A possible CBA extension could have wide-reaching implications. Brooks reports that there could be a flat $83M salary cap for “at least” three seasons. The upside for the NHLPA is significant, though. Such a setup would also mean a cap for escrow, an unpredictable element loathed by players.
Naturally, plenty is subject to change. Brooks points out that even the $83M salary cap could be tweaked. But it would be a huge decision if a flat cap was introduced. As Brooks notes, this move would mean that the salary cap would no longer be linked to a 50-50 split in revenue.
Earlier today, Rangers star Artemi Panarin released a candid statement. Along with wishing that the Rangers could train in the MSG area, Panarin railed on escrow:
— Artemiy Panarin (@artemiypanarin) June 25, 2020
It sounds like the CBA extension proposal might soothe some of that tension? Maybe?
It’s pretty noteworthy, too, that the entire membership of the NHLPA might vote on a return-to-play plan.
Previously, there were rumblings that a return-to-play vote would be limited to an NHLPA executive board. An anonymous veteran player recently expressed displeasure regarding that idea to Michael Russo and James Mirtle of The Athletic (sub required).
“Guys are not happy,” The veteran player said. “This is why we better have a full player vote and not just an executive board vote. But I’m not convinced (NHLPA executive director) Don (Fehr) is going to allow that because he knows there’s so many of us on the fence. That’s why I think the league was trying to be hush-hush on these positive tests.
“In my opinion, no way we play.”
Players haven’t just expressed their concerns about COVID-19 privately, either.
“I would tell you that I probably wouldn’t be comfortable voting at this particular time.” – Carey Price when asked about COVID concerns, stating there are a lot of questions that remain to be answered before they return to play.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 25, 2020
Some believe that it’s not necessarily a slam dunk (tap-in goal?) that a majority of players would approve a return to play. An anonymous agent noted to Russo and Mirtle that playing in the setup wouldn’t even translate to a full paycheck for some players. That’s a lot of risk for little return.
However, if the NHLPA and NHL hammered out some pretty favorable concessions for both sides in that CBA extension? Now that might be something that could make plenty of sense for the players (and league).
Of course, with just about every part of this process, a lot is subject to change. As we’ve seen, there are twists and turns in merely determining the two NHL hub cities.
If this vote comes to pass, it would create some long-term clarity during these very unclear times.