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Helpful points for becoming CBA savvy

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THE NHL and NHLPA officially buried the hatchet late Saturday with the strokes of pens.

Each signed the memorandum of understanding that will be the basis of restarting the league after the 113-day lockout. The lengthy document contained all the agreed-upon provisions of their new relationship going forward and will be the basis on which the formal collective bargaining agreement will be put together.

The main elements of the deal are well-known -- a 50-50 sharing of revenue over a 10-year deal, maximum player contracts of seven years, $300 million of "make whole" money for players with existing contracts who may suffer pay loss trying to fit into lower salary cap seasons.

You'll be CBA savvy if you remember some of the other items:

The cap can't go below $64.3 million and the cap and floor for any given year will be plus or minus 15 per cent of the calculated mid-point. The formula for that comes from the hockey-revenue split. The range between the cap and floor can never be less than $16 million (what it used to be) and may never exceed $28 million.

Maximum player contract length is seven years; but eight years for a team signing its own pending free agents. The eight-year provision is off the table once a player becomes an actual free agent on any July 1.

Salary variables -- salary may fluctuate only 35 per cent of number in contract's first year; may never dip to less than 50 per cent of the highest year of a deal.

Two "compliance" buyouts allowed this summer and next, in order to help teams comply with new salary range. A player bought out under this provision may not return to the team buying him out for one season.

Cap Advantage Recapture system will penalize any club gaining advantage from a deal more than six years long, if that contract is front-loaded and if the player retires before all his prescribed years are played.

Large contracts will no longer be able to be hidden in the minors or Europe (see Wade Redden). This year's threshold will be $900,000. Anything in excess of that counts against a team's cap.

Retained salary, up to three contracts at a time per team, and maximum of 50 per cent of the cap hit on any one contract, may be part of trades. Could be a serious benefit for teams with lots of cap space.

Walk-away rights in arbitration cases apply only to awards more than $3.5 million this season.

New "interview" or "shop-around" period for pending unrestricted free agents -- runs from the day after the draft until June 30.

Re-entry waivers no longer exist.

NHL minimum salary rises gradually from $525,000 this year to $750,000 in 2021-22.

Playoff pool for players goes from $6.5 million to $13M this season, then onwards to $17 million by end of deal.

Emergency call-ups will be allowed for teams who have no cap room but have injuries and/or suspensions.

New revenue sharing pool will be 6.055 per cent of annual HRR. Half the revenue sharing pool will come from top 10 teams in NHL revenue. There's an easing of rules to qualify for revenue sharing, including dropping the TV market restriction, and also dropping disqualification for being in top 15 team in revenue.

A new Revenue Sharing Oversight Committee, which will include NHLPA participation, will have latitude to grant and adjust aid to teams.

Discipline for on-ice and off-ice incidents now has an appeal process to neutral third party beyond commissioner's appeal decision.

New drug-testing provisions included, adding stimulants and the like to banned substances and exploring other avenues for expanded testing, including for HGH.

Extensive new medical-care definitions and restrictions, including opening doors for players to seek second opinions; and requirements that a minimum of two NHL-qualified doctors attend every game and sit near benches and ice.

Single hotel rooms on the road for players who are beyond the entry-level contracts.

Training camps now set (normally) for 20 days. Players must be granted two days off during training camp. Also, players required to have four complete days off per calendar month of regular season.

Teams agree to play between six and eight pre-season games per season.

Each season, Dec. 24, 25 and 26 will be complete off days in the league; except when Dec. 26 is a Saturday, Dec. 23 will be substitute as off.

Competition committee meets twice per year. It shall submit proposals to GMs, but if turned down, new provision for direct submission to owners.

Draft lottery -- all non-playoff teams will now participate for first overall pick.

Tickets -- each team must make 80 tickets per game available to visitors during regular season.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2013 C2

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