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Saturday, July 16, 2005

nhl- Big trouble for small Markets

from the Toronto Star, Upon further review, the new collective bargaining agreement is looking better for the likes of Tomas Kaberle, Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier and potentially disastrous for the small-market teams it was supposed to help.
A source close to the negotiations confirmed a published report yesterday stating that not only does the free agency age drop to 29 next summer, but players under that age who have eight years of NHL experience, will also qualify for unrestricted status. In the summer of 2007, players who are 28 or have seven seasons will qualify. In 2008 — and for the remainder of the agreement — players who are 27 or have seven seasons of experience will qualify.
Also, for purposes of player tenure, last year's aborted season will count as a season played for all NHL players.
All of which means next summer is shaping up to have the strongest free agent crop in the history of the game. Along with Iginla, Thornton, Lecavalier and Kaberle, other potential unrestricted free agents include Martin St-Louis, Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Jose Theodore and Ed Jovonovski.
Under the previous CBA, the Leafs wouldn't have had to deal with Kaberle as an unrestricted free agent until after the 2008-09 season. Because he will have been an NHLer for eight years once his contract expires next summer, Kaberle will now be unrestricted.
Liberalized free agency was one of the concessions the owners made in exchange for a salary cap, but critics suggest that this will do nothing to protect the small-market teams. What it does mean is that the effects of arbitration, one of the league's biggest concerns going into negotiations for a new CBA, will not drive salaries for players in their mid 20's because those dollars will now be driven by unrestricted free agency....more...