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NHL, Union expected to meet again Monday

by Dan Rosen

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association are expected to resume negotiating sessions Monday.

After two days of sessions designed to exchange information about the content of the League's most recent proposal for a new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement, the sides are expected to meet again Monday, likely to restart official bargaining.

Representatives from the NHL and NHLPA met for approximately two-and-a-half hours Sunday morning at the League office to continue the information-exchange process the two sides began in a conference-call setting Saturday.

Following the face-to-face meeting Sunday, which ended at approximately noon ET, the NHLPA began holding internal meetings.

The NHL's proposal, the first new offer exchanged by either side since Dec. 6, is reportedly contingent on a 2013 regular season at least 48 games in length starting no later than Jan. 19. The original 2012-13 schedule has been cancelled through Jan. 14 because of the lack of an existing CBA between the NHL and NHLPA.

The League reportedly moved in the NHLPA's direction on three key issues in its new comprehensive proposal, which has a mutual option to reopen after eight years: Contract length, compliance buyouts, and annual-salary variance.

The NHL is reportedly offering to have contract lengths be capped at a maximum of six years after previously proposing a five-year maximum term.

The NHL's proposal also would give teams the ability to sign their own free agents to a maximum seven-year term provided that player has been under contract with the team for the equivalent of one full season.

According to reports, for the first time the NHL is also proposing a provision that would allow teams to have the ability for a one-time compliance buyout prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. This option was not included in any of the NHL's previous proposals.

The buyout reportedly would not count against the salary cap of the team initiating the buyout, but a portion of the buyout would be factored into the formula that determines the players' share of hockey-related revenue (HRR).

The reports also say the NHL increased the percentage that a players' annual salary in a multi-year contract can vary year-to-year to 10 percent, up from the 5 percent in earlier proposals.

The League is also proposing to preserve the terms of salary arbitration, free agency, HRR accounting and definitions, as well as the entry-level system from the previous CBA, according to the reports.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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