As first reported by TSN, a tentative deal on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement has been reached between the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association.
Both sides met with federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh for 16 straight hours from Saturday afternoon through the early hours of Sunday morning to get the deal done.
The next stage is documentation and ratification and depending on when that part of the process is completed and a new CBA is reached, the league - according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun - has 50-game and 48-game schedules drawn up. A 50-game season would start on Jan. 15 and a 48-game season would start on Jan. 19.
"Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed to reporters early Sunday morning. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon."
"Hopefully within a very few days the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us," said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
TSN's Aaron Ward, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, outlined the features of the new agreement as follows;
- The players' share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years. There is an opt-out of the 10 year deal after 8 years.
- The Year 2 salary cap is set at $64.3 million. The Year 2 salary floor will be $44 million.
- The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.
- A player contract term limit for free agents will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.
- The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.
- Free agency will open July 1 in the new agreement. But with a later ending to this season, free agency for this summer will start at a later date.
Also, a decision on NHL participation at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be made outside of the new CBA. While it is likely that the league will participate, the IIHF and IOC will have discussions with the NHL and Players' Association.
Stay tuned to WGR Sports Radio 550 and WGR550.com for more details on this developing story.