The NHL players have voted to delay their final paychecks of the season, according to TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun. A seldom-discussed fact of the NHL season is players do not get paid for the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the move could mitigate long term effects on the NHL salary cap.
Per LeBrun, the player’s move is an effort to give the NHL and NHLPA more time to figure out current and future salary cap ramifications of the coronavirus induced season pause. By letter of the current CBA law, the dramatic loss in current revenues, including the potential of neutral site games without fans, could drop the cap by 25-40% next season.
By delaying the final check, the NHL players are extending the time for both parties to figure out how to avoid the dramatic salary cap decline. No one wants the chaos and roster purges, which would occur with a steep cap drop.
Multiple reporters from TSN’s Daren Dreger to this writer have publicly floated a multi-year solution, in which the current revenue losses are amortized over three to five years, virtually a short-term load from the owners to the players.
NHL players have deferred their decision on the last paycheque until May 15. Sense is this will allow more time for the NHL and NHLPA to figure out if there will be games this season… Players have been debating whether to forgo some or all of the last paycheque to help escrow
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 18, 2020
Also, by delaying the final check, players can place that check into the escrow account, which would lessen the owner’s revenue losses and soften the player’s future escrow losses.
The NHLPA and owners have been negotiating a new CBA agreement. The escrow payments, in which money is withheld from player’s paychecks, then proportionally distributed to the owners or back to the players after the season to maintain a 50/50 revenue share, were a central issue.
As part of his chat with 93-7 the Fan, Pierre McGuire claimed the players and owners have never had better communications. Perhaps it’s a small silver lining to the current situation.