Second NHL offer still leaves Bruins in a tough spot

Second NHL offer still leaves Bruins in a tough spot
August 29, 2012, 2:56 pm

File the latest NHL counter-offer in the pessimistically hopeful category.

The NHL and NHLPA met again in New York at the NHL offices on Tuesday afternoon, and Gary Bettman mapped out the leagues second effort. It was slightly different from the first offer, but it continues to turn back the clock on salaries, player rights and pretty much everything else.

The players percentage of Hockey Related Revenue would drop from its current 57 percent level to 51.7 percent in the first year of the proposed six-year deal, and would eventually drop to a 5050 split between the players and league in the last three years of a new CBA.

The salary cap for 2012-13 would drop from a planned 70 million cap ceiling next season to a projected 58 million, and 16 NHL teams would be over the cap heading into next year without any salary rollback or CBA adjustment. It would deflate the current cap ceiling to a level between the 2008-09 season (56.8 million) and 2009-10 (59.4 million), which clearly sounds like an improvement over the first league offer.

So what does this all mean for the Bruins?

They currently sit at 68.8 million worth of payroll designated for next season, and would be nearly 11 million over the salary cap if the current CBA proposal was accepted.

With Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference and Tuukka Rask among others set to be free agents after this season, salary cap constraints would result in a painful fire sale for the Black and Gold roster prior to the start of the hockey season.

The current CBA would finally reach a salary cap ceiling of 71 million in 2017-18 during the final season of the six-year proposal, so essentially the NHL is hoping to turn back time by six years with their meaningful proposal, as Bettman called it.

The NHLPA will discuss the offer and theres something positive about the two sides continuing to discuss and negotiate. But it also appears the two sides are no closer to a new CBA than they were a month ago, and the NHL is less than a month away from beginning to cancel meaningful dates on its regular season schedule.