Hockey, the beloved national sport of Canadians everywhere; The NHL, a league that’s gone through so many lockouts in a 10 year span, its surprising there isn’t a brand new league because of all the crap the fans, players, owners and everyone else has gone through. Remember the strike that just past? I know a lot of you wish you could forget it but it caused the NHL to lose half of the season. The big issue was money and how they would split the revenue. There were other issues on the table of negotiation but a huge problem was sharing the money. The players and the owners went back and forth for a while with no progress and it seemed like the season was lost, and then out of nowhere the two sides came to an agreement and hockey was back!
The salary cap was set to go down and there were new rules in place for signing players, new rules that should benefit players for years to come. However, it seems that the strike that almost lost the whole season has had a negative impact on a chunk of the unrestricted free agents. Finally, when the dust cleared from the first day of free agency a lot of money was thrown around and a lot of players got shiny new contracts, which meant a lot of money in their pockets.
Technically there is nothing wrong with that, I mean I’m not going to get into a whole rant about how pro sports athletes make too much money, which they do, but that’s a topic for another day. Because of all the really big and stupid signings many teams had made earlier in July, it has forced a large amount of FA’s to be jobless, for the time being.
Every year there are older players who can’t seem to find work, because either many of the teams needs have been filled, or the teams who have needs are to close to the salary cap. The problem is more teams this year are up against the cap, or next season have a huge contract to sign with a specific player i.e. the Montreal Canadiens and PK Subban. Because of this issue there are a lot of younger players, or players in their “prime” that still have yet to sign a deal with an NHL team.
Players such as Mason Raymond age 27, Ian White 29, Ryan Whitney 30, Guillaume Latendresse 26, Damien Brunner 27, Cam Barker 27 and many more. Of course some of these players aren’t the best in the world, but they are good enough to have a positive impact on the team. These players can easily blame the new CBA as the reason why, for the time being, they don’t have a contract.
If and when these guys sign a contract it will be a cheap one-year deal and I’m pretty sure most of these players were hoping for a raise. Players like this must despise the CBA right now because they are jobless. To many big, high priced contracts have affected these players in a negative way and to be honest I feel bad for them. For now all they can do is continue on with their training or sit back and hope that they will be given a new deal.
Another example of people not learning from the past CBA can be located in Toronto. A couple of weeks ago Dave Nonis was given a five-year extension; I don’t understand why they would give a contract so long to a guy who has only done a few things for the team. The Leafs might have made the playoffs with Nonis as GM, but it was literally Brian Burkes team. This off-season he signed Tyler Bozak to a 5 year 21 million dollar deal and David Clarkson to a seven year 36.75 million dollar deal. The Leafs now have less than 5 million dollars to sign two restricted free agents Codi Franson (defense) and Nazem Kadri (forward) and we all know each player won’t be cheap, Kadri has only proved himself useful for half a season so he doesn’t have a great argument.
Don’t forget the fact that after this season the Leafs have make the decision this season as to whether or not they should resign or let go of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. Nonis has dug himself a hole with the stupid contracts he has given out and could potentially lose a decent player, and let’s not forget the fact that if Jonathan Bernier has two great seasons with the Leafs he’ll want a big deal as well. This is just an example of what hasn’t changed with the new CBA players want more money and don’t really care who it effects, or a GM so desperate to make his mark (in this case) possibly puts the teams future at risk.
These are just some examples of the flaws that the new NHL CBA has started and I fear for the day the next CBA expires, because the players and owners, might be in a bigger mess than they were the last time. As for the fans, soon we won’t have to dissect every moment of this off-season and we will be back to watching the on ice product. Just remember this, when the next off-season comes around we might see another team face the same issues as the Maple Leafs and it could be your favorite team that has the same issues, stay tuned!
Thanks for reading.
You can follow me on twitter for updates! @NVincelli,