The NHL and NHL Players' Association reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement around 4:45 a.m. ET Sunday. While the deal still needs to be ratified by the players and the league, here are some of the main highlights, based on information from sources:
— The CBA will run for 10 years through Sept. 15, 2022, with a mutual option to terminate the deal after eight years.
— Players receive defined benefit pension plan.
— Owners and players split revenue 50-50 each season, with the players receiving US$300 million in deferred "make-whole payments" to ease the transition from previous system.
— A pro-rated salary cap of $70.2 million for the shortened 2012-13 season followed by a salary cap of $64.3 million — the cap is guaranteed not to drop below that number moving forward — in 2013-14. The salary floor will be set at $44 million for both years.
— Seven-year limit on free-agent contracts (eight-year limit when a team signs its own player to an extension).
— A maximum salary variance of 35 per cent from year to year, with no more than a 50 per cent total difference between any two seasons in the contract.
— The minimum salary starts at $525,000 this season and reaches $750,000 for the 10th and final year of the agreement.
— Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration who is awarded at least $3.5 million.
— Each team will be given the option of two "amnesty buyouts" that can be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal — paid evenly over twice its remaining length — and will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the individual team's salary cap.
— Revenue sharing between teams increased to $200 million annually.
— Any player on a one-way contract who plays in the American Hockey League with a salary in excess of the NHL's minimum salary plus $375,000 will have the excess amount charged against his team's salary cap.
— Unrestricted free agency continues to open on July 1.
— The participation of NHLers in future Olympics has yet to be determined. The decision will be made outside of the CBA.
— The season will run either 48 games or 50 games and will be kept entirely within the conference. Under the 48-game scenario, teams play everyone outside their division three times and an unbalanced schedule internally, with five games against two rivals and four games against two others. The 50-game scenario is more straightforward with five games versus divisional opponents and three more against everyone else in the conference.
— For the shortened 2012-13 NHL season, an April 5 trade deadline and July 5 start to free agency have been proposed. The sides have yet to formally sign off on that yet.