The NHLPA's diversity problem

Updated: November 16, 2012, 2:14 PM ET
By Craig Custance

Imagine for a moment that you're Corey Perry. You're skating in Ontario, waiting patiently for this whole lockout mess to come to a conclusion. Your contract with the Ducks expires after this season and you could have secured your future the way so many other players did this summer -- by signing a contract extension. But you decided to wait. Wait to see what the new system brings, what the free-agent market looks like.

Now, that decision is creating more uncertainty than ever.

"The way it's going right now, he may be unrestricted as soon as the summer comes and never plays another game with [the Ducks]," said agent Mark Guy of Newport Sports. "Or he signs a new contract with them. Both sides are going to have to make a decision going forward."

But that's not a decision you can make right now, not with the two negotiating sides hung up on how to split up billions. You waited patiently as the two sides worked toward a 50-50 split and more robust revenue sharing. You've waited patiently as the Make Whole provision became the most debated and heated part of the fight, even if you're like 40 percent of your NHLPA colleagues who don't have a contract after this season and whose money this season -- decreasing by the day -- probably won't ever be made whole. That number of unsigned players grows to 75 percent in two years, according to the fine math of the CBC's Elliotte Friedman.

So if you're Perry, you've done your own math and realized that the NHL is willing to put in transition rules for this season so teams can exceed the salary cap for one year. But with the new revenue split, you noticed the salary cap would dive down to the $60 million range next season, which means teams will be shedding salary and scrambling to get under the cap this summer -- just in time for you to hit free agency. It may even force a Ducks team that drafted you and that you respect immensely to make a choice between you and longtime teammate Ryan Getzlaf ... if you're both still teammates after the trade deadline. If there is a trade deadline. And if Getzlaf is gone and Teemu Selanne is too, do you even want to stay?