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Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Cap still included in league's offer

Associated Press

A look at key points in the NHL's proposal Wednesday to the NHL Players' Association:

Agreement length
The deal would cover the 2004-05 season and the following six seasons through 2010-11. The players' association would have the sole right to reopen the agreement after four years.

Salary cap
The new system would ensure that total league-wide player compensation in any year will not be under 53 percent of the league's revenues or exceed 55 percent. If teams spend less than 53 percent of the NHL's revenues, they will be required to contribute additional dollars to a pool to be distributed to the players.

Floating team payroll
The new range was established by averaging total team payrolls, reflecting the NHL's acceptance of the players' association offer to roll back all existing contracts by 24 percent. Each team would be required to spend at least $29.8 million in player salaries ($32 million including benefits) and no more than $40 million in salaries ($42.2 million including benefits).

Unrestricted free agency
Age for Group 3 free agency reduced to age 30 beginning with the 2006-07 season.

Entry level system
Four-year, two-way rookie contracts that would cap salaries at $850,000 per year -- including signing and performance bonuses. The signing bonus maximum in each year would be $100,000 for draft picks 1-5; $75,000 for picks 6-15; $50,000 for picks 16-30; and $40,000 for picks 31 and up. The league also proposed giving its own entry-level bonuses, awarding $500,000 to entry-level players who win the Hart, Norris, Vezina and Selke trophies; $400,000 to second-place finishers; $300,000 for a third-place finish; $200,000 for fourth; and $100,000 for fifth place.

Restricted free agency
Qualifying offers from teams would have to be 100 percent of the previous year's salary to players earning less than $800,000; and 75 percent or $800,000, whichever is greater, to players who earned $800,000 or more the previous season. The right-to-match and draft choice compensation remain the same from the previous agreement.

Salary arbitration
Mutual process in which players and clubs have same rights to request arbitration. In old system, only players could request arbitration. Arbitration was eliminated in NHL's Dec. 14 offer. The NHL would reserve the right to eliminate arbitration at any time by giving players unrestricted free agency at 28 in return.

Player contracts
Minimum salary increased 62 percent to $300,000 per year. Guaranteed contracts would remain in existence but the maximum length would be three years. Current contracts would be grandfathered.

Profit sharing
The NHL would share profits equally with the players' association once a negotiated threshold is exceeded.

Joint audit
Each year's accounting will be performed by an independent firm. There would be a mandatory $2 million fine and loss of a first-round draft pick for clubs that fail to disclose required financial information. A repeat offense would bring a $5 million fine and loss of three first-round draft picks.

2004-2005 season
To compensate players for a shortened 2004-05 regular season with a full playoffs, the NHLPA would share money generated from the 2005 postseason to ensure they receive 53 percent of league revenues for the season.

Joint owner-player council
Establishment of a council to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual interest relating both to business and game-related matters.