Effect of lockout on contracts

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

This is the latest in a continuing – nay, never-ending – series of THN mailbags. Whatever you do, don’t stop submitting your questions. We’ll choose a bunch each week and answer them here, in The Hockey News magazine and on THN Radio. Thanks again – and happy Labor Day holiday weekend.

Hey Adam, in a trade between the Florida Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks, what would you deem a fair asking price in return for Roberto Luongo? Although I do believe he is a bona fide No. 1 netminder, he unfortunately carries a lengthy contract with limited suitors. If I were Gillis, I would be content with a top prospect or a first round draft pick. Thoughts?

Justin Uyeno, Richmond, B.C.

Hey Justin,

I’m with you, but clearly neither of us is with Gillis, who has been steadfast in his expectations for a serious return in a Luongo deal. You can’t blame him for trying. This is a player who holds several team records and were it not for the 10 years remaining on his deal he’d likely have many more bidders than the small handful of teams showing interest.

Alas, that contract isn’t going anywhere and neither will Luongo until Gillis comes to terms with that reality. I expect he’ll have no choice but to do that after a collective bargaining agreement is reached and training camp begins. By that point, all of Gillis’ bluster about being willing to start the year with Luongo and Cory Schneider as Vancouver’s tandem will disappear and he’ll have to bite his lip (as Columbus GM Scott Howson did with Rick Nash) and accept the best deal out there.

My guess is that deal will be for a mid-to-high prospect and perhaps a serviceable NHL player, with a first-rounder being an alternative possibility. But to imagine Gillis will land all of those things or a better deal is to set yourself up for disappointment. Market conditions are what drove Gillis to offer that contract to Luongo and they will also determine what he gets when he ships him out.

Hi Adam, In the event of a lockout, it would be nice to see our favorite players who decide to make the trip to Europe. Is there any way of watching the KHL? Legally, if possible! Thanks.

Joe Hollingworth, Grantham, U.K.

Hi Joe,

Good question. In North America, the KHL has partnered with Vianet.com to televise games, but for people like yourself on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean, you’d have to watch games streamed on the league’s website. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

Hey Adam. I’m interested in finding out what happened to contracts in the 2004-05 lockout year. Was a year of players' contracts burned that season or did they just continue with the same number of years remaining on the contract as if a year hadn't elapsed?

As a long-suffering Canadiens fan, I'm wondering if there is a silver lining in a potential lost season. Presumably, it would depend on the new CBA, but if the season is lost and a year of the players' contracts were to be erased, we would be one step closer to that happy day when Scott Gomez and the other terrible contracts from the Bob Gainey/Pierre Gauthier era (Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle, Rene Bourque) might be behind us and we can be serious about winning for a change. Thanks.

Mike Ponting, Edmonton

Hey Mike,

All player contracts in a lockout year count just as they would if games were happening. So yes, you lop a year off all the contracts you’ve noted if the NHL lost a full season. That would leave one season remaining on the contracts of Gomez, Brian Gionta, Markov and Kaberle. In a best-case scenario for at least Gomez and Kaberle, a cancelled season could be followed by a long-rumored amnesty buyout opportunity and one or both veterans may have played their last game as a Hab. Awful price the sport has to pay to get there, though.

Adam, I am curious to know if you also think that by the NHL and owners tabling an offer of 43 percent of revenues to the NHLPA who were making 57 percent, doesn't it sound like just by the math that the owners were subtly offering to accept 50 percent or a counter offer right down the middle? Just seemed too convenient to offer seven percent below when they make seven percent above?

And I would love to ask the players what businessman alive would want to own a business that he can't make over 50 percent of the profits. These players are still going to be overpaid millions no matter what the percentage is.

Jason Boguski, Roblin, Man.


Let me address your last point first. Why do you only focus on players being overpaid? If you’d said “players and owners are still going to be overpaid,” I’d be more inclined to agree. But we all know by now that a crackdown on player salaries isn’t going to result in lowered ticket prices, so to me just fingering the NHLPA as the problem is disingenuous in the extreme.

As for your point about a 50/50 split – a message Gary Bettman and the owners want to underscore in these negotiations – I’d be good with that if the money being divvied included all of the league’s actual revenue and not just the owners’ moving-target definition of Hockey Related Revenue. If it really isn’t all the money the league makes, the split isn’t 50/50. That’s a major issue to players right now and one that isn’t likely to change.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.


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