Sources: NHL makes first CBA offer

Updated: July 14, 2012, 3:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

As the NHL's labor negotiations begin to take shape, the league has made its first collective bargaining offer to the Players' Association, one that reportedly includes massive changes to the league's current CBA, league and union sources confirmed to ESPN.com's Scott Burnside.

According to multiple media outlets, the offer asked the union to take a 19-percent reduction in total hockey-related revenues, from their current 57 percent to 46 percent.

The league's offer also limited contract lengths to five years, while forcing players to accrue 10 seasons -- regardless of age -- before becoming an unrestricted free agent, the reports said.

According to the New York Post, the league's plan would eliminate signing bonuses and would make salaries the same for every year of the contract. The Post also reported the deal would eliminate salary arbitration and would extend entry-level contracts by two years, from three to five."

The NHL currently has no limit on contract lengths and limited restrictions on the structure of salaries and bonuses.

The hard-line offer was entirely expected, sources said.

The owners locked out the players in 2004 and it cost the NHL an entire season. The agreement that came out of that deal put in place a salary cap for teams for the first time. It expires Sept. 15.

The sides have met several times since the season ended in June and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the Toronto Star after a negotiating session on Tuesday that the sides have exchanged their stated positions on major issues such as revenue sharing, team salary floors, free agency and conference alignment.

While Fehr said on June 27 the players would be willing to start the season without a deal if negotiations were ongoing, both sides have been unwilling in recent days to say whether the season would begin on time.

The regular season is scheduled to begin Oct. 11.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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