NHL Makes Offer To Players As Lockout End Date Looms

The NHL has made a new offer to the NHL Players’ Association in what could be one of the final attempts to avert the NHL lockout and save the 2012-13 season.

The newest offer from the NHL moves a bit toward the players’ requests, making compromises on term limits for player contracts, salary variance, and buyouts, one player told ESPN.

Until now, the NHL had insisted on five-year limits for player contracts while players showed a willingness to limit deals to eight years. With its latest offer, the NHL has budged on what had been a sticking point, offering six years instead of the five it had been giving players. For players re-signing with the same team, contracts can be seven years.

Other details, via ESPN:

• Year-to-year salary variance moves from 5 percent (NHL’s previous offers) to 10 percent.

• Each team will be allowed one compliance buyout before the 2013-14 season that will not count against the salary cap but will count against the players’ share.

• The Make Whole provision stays at $300 million.

The NHL has already canceled games until January 14, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has insisted that anything less than a 48-game season would not be acceptable. Even a schedule that short would push the season into late June, so, in order fit a season in, the NHL lockout would need to be over by mid-January at the latest.

Though the offer may not fly with the NHL Players’ Association, which voted to authorize disbanding in a move meant to show its seriousness to the NHL owners, the important thing is that the process is moving forward again, NJ.com writer Charles Curtis noted.