Not bad, amirite?

I know that’s a bit of a tease of a headline, but I can’t help but feel the warm and fuzzies over progress between the NHL and NHLPA. They can bat around all the little issues like “but who pays for the extra trainer on the road?”, but until a new proposal came from either side, we weren’t getting anywhere. Let’s hope we are now.

Here’s my understanding of the core pieces of the new NHL offer:

* They offered a 50/50 split of Hockey Related Revenues.

50/50 is where the NBA recently ended up, and where everybody assumed the new NHL deal would. The owners are the first to throw that out there, which as I may have mentioned, gives me hope. Even if the players counter with an extra percentage point in their favour, I don’t think it’s impossible that the owners would agree.

The NHL’s previous offer suggested the players take 49% in year one of a new deal, 48% in the second, and 47% in the next three. So again: progress.

* John Shannon of Sportsnet’s Twitter feed is chalk full of information right now, so instead of embedding every tweet, you get a list (go there for more). In the proposal is:

- Free agency would start at 28 or eight years of service

As of now, free agency is at seven years of service, or at 27 years old. That buys owners an extra year before having to shell out the monster deals.

- Entry level contracts would be at four years

Current entry level contracts max out at three years. That also buys owners an extra year before having to shell out a big five year deal (as we just saw Edmonton do with Hall and Eberle). Being that offensive studs tend to have their best statistical seasons around three/four years in, drafting well would become even more important. Sadly, so would tanking.

- Contract length would max out at five years

Right now they max out at sideways eight (there is no max length). NOW let’s see how everyone does under Brian Burke’s personal rules! My only question is, what happens with contracts signed before this new CBA?Those 14 year deals obviously can’t go *poof* and disappear. Tom Gulitti, the Devils beat reporter for The Record tweeted:

…so there’s that.

- Revenue sharing would be at or near 200 million dollars

- Arbitration would still exist

Arbitration obviously existed before, but didn’t in any of the NHL’s previous offers this summer, so they gave a little bit here.

- Players’ Salaries for those NHLers playing in the AHL would be part of the cap

As Wyshynski responded to that tweet: this would have to officially be called the Wade Redden rule, correct? No more burying contracts in the minors is a pretty reasonable suggestion.

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The NHL has said that it wouldn’t even consider a proposal that included salary rollbacks, so the fact that Gulitti says their current deals may be protected could make this a meaningful jumping off point. There are going to be things the NHLPA will want to change, and the NHL knows this. But still there’s no room for a counter-proposal now, and with major issues addressed…don’t cancel your season tickets just yet (yes, I’m bi-polar on the lockout right now, allow me to be manic for a second).

One of the most interesting things, to me, is that this proposal still allows for an 82 game season that would start November 2nd. The PA may not love that, given the increased injury potential with a condensed schedule, but as a fan, I say chuck ‘em out there (Bettman explains in his comments that this only amounts to one additional game every five weeks).

More to come on this shortly.

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UPDATES:

* Michael Russo reports that teams have been asked for available building dates for after the season was originally scheduled to end.

* Donald Fehr spoke with the media after getting the proposal:

* @SpectorsHockey thinks that longer entry-level contracts could deter European prospects from coming over.

* Brian Costello, senior editor at The Hockey News tweeted: “If NHLPA rejects NHL’s 50-50 offer, it will be because there’s no significant change in revenue-sharing model the union seeks.”

* A crucial correction from John Shannon of Sportsnet: