Answering the Questions behind the Lockout

With the framework for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, hockey fans have a great deal of burning questions. We’ve done our best to answer some of those for you. If you have a question that you’d like to have answered, you can follow me on Twitter @PensNation_Ken

*This column will be updated as new information becomes available*

When will we actually see hockey again?

The CBA still needs to be ratified by players and the board of governors. The BOG will meet on Wednesday and that the league has told teams that training camps will begin on Saturday, January 12.Camp will be an abbreviated orientation for the season, so don’t expect the same opening camp rosters. Teams will likely make a few call-ups to see what’s there, but anticipate seeing somewhere between 25-28 players on the ice for the start of camp.

Rumors suggest that a 48 would start on January 19.

An informal workout is scheduled at Southpointe starting at 10 AM on Monday morning.

When will the schedule be released?

The current schedule is being reworked. It is not clear whether the shortened season will consist of 48 or 50 games. There have been rumors of the Penguins opening on the road in Philadephia on January 19, but these are unconfirmed. There will likely be no cross conference games and teams can expect to see a lot of their divisional rivals.

The League will likely announce the full schedule later this week.

The schedule that is currently on NHL.com or your favorite team’s webpage is junk. Forget about it.

Pre-season?

Not happening.

How does this impact the Salary Cap?

The salary cap for this season won’t change, with a ceiling of $70.2M and a floor of $44M.  Starting with the 2013-14 season, the cap will fall to a $64.3M ceiling and the same $44M floor. After that season, the cap may rise but not fall below that ceiling.

The Penguins have roughly $60.1M tied up for the coming season. The burning question is how general manager Ray Shero will elect to use the nearly $9M of cap room this season if he makes any moves at all. There is no date set for the trade deadline at this time, but mid-April was the point of no return in the shortened season of 1995. Ones these transition terms are set (sometime within the next few days), this year’s deadline will almost certainly be earlier.

What is “Contract Variance?”

Call this the “Ilya Kovalchuk” clause. Remember those absurdly long deals that were either frontloaded or backloaded like the one Sidney Crosby signed this past off-season? This is the league’s attempt to halt this practice.

The difference of terms on multi-year deals may not be more than 35%. This is a big jump from the 5% that the league was originally asking at the start of negotiations. In addition, the lowest year of the deal may not be less than 50% of the highest end of the contract.

How long can contracts be?

Free agents may not be signed for more than seven years. Players may resign with their current team for eight years total under one deal.

When does this CBA expire?

Perhaps the best news for hockey fans. The dates were a point of contention between the two parties, but the new CBA will stand for a ten-year term with an opt out clause after the eighth season.

What about Re-Alignment/Playoff Format?

It was not discussed for this season, but remains a possibility in the future.

Will the players who played in Europe return to the NHL?

Yes, Evgeni Malkin is coming back to Pittsburgh.

All non-playoff teams are entered into the Draft Lottery:

I’d go into more detail, but this isn’t a Toronto Maple Leafs blog.

Did Kris Letang play any games for SKA St Petersburg in the KHL?

No.

Why did he do that?

I have no idea.

 

For more detailed information on the new CBA, check out James Mirtle’s breakdown. In the words of Jeff Marek “He’s got charts and shit.”