NHL Lockout Ends as NHL and Players' Association Reach Tentative Deal

Ryan SzporerContributor IIIJanuary 6, 2013

The Los Angeles Kings capture the 2012 Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Kings capture the 2012 Stanley Cup.Harry How/Getty Images

With the ever-looming threat of a second National Hockey League season since 2004 being cancelled, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association came to a tentative 10-year agreement on Sunday morning.

The agreement features several key elements, including (via CTV.ca) a seven-year limit for deals to free agents from other teams and an eight-year limit for re-signings.

Addressing the issue of front-loaded contracts, a player’s salary in any given year will not be any lower than 50 percent of his highest annual salary in the deal. From year to year, salaries will also not be able to vary by more than 35 percent (via the Toronto Star).

The agreement further dictates a second-year salary cap of $64.3 million (salary cap floor of $44 million). The salary cap this coming season will officially be $60 million, with teams allowed to spend up to $70.2 million (via TSN.ca), the salary cap that had been announced initially for this current season.

Teams will also be granted two buy-outs prior to next season that won’t count against the cap (via CBC.ca) but will count against the players’ side of hockey-related revenue, of which there will be a 50-50 split, with $300 million put aside by the owners to honor current players’ contracts (via the Toronto Star).

Also of note, in regard to the draft lottery, all non-playoff teams will now be able to win the first overall pick, as opposed to teams just being able to move up a maximum of four spots (via TSN.ca).

The deal still needs to be drafted and ratified before a new CBA is put in place, with other minor issues to be settled. The NHL’s participation at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia has yet to be determined and will be negotiated outside of this current CBA.

With games cancelled through January 14 and 113 days gone by since the lockout began, no start date for the season has been announced, with both 48- and 50-game schedules drawn up (via TSN.ca).