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Friday, July 15, 2005

nhl- FA will hurt NHL

from Larry Brooks and the NY Post (reg. req.), Lou Lamoriello, the only legitimate hockey man invited by the NHL to sit on its side of the table in executive-committee labor negotiations with the NHLPA, voiced strenuous objections to granting radically liberalized free agency to the players, a source familiar with the sessions yesterday told The Post.
Indeed, we're told the Devils CEO and GM issued a passionate plea on behalf of lowering unrestricted free agency no more than one year, to age 30, citing how further reduction would inflict grave damage on the traditional fabric of the game.
Lamoriello's concerns, however, were ignored by commissioner Gary Bettman and the other executive members of the Board negotiating party, who, we're told, were only too willing and eager to trade free agency in exchange for the PA's commitment to accept a hard-cap link to payroll beginning at 54 percent of the gross.
Of course Lamoriello objected. Because now, with the NHL adopting a system under which players with eight years of NHL service (counting the stillborn 2004-05 as a year) can go on the open market next summer, and players with seven years in the league becoming unrestricted in 2007, the Devils stand to lose 25-year-old center Scott Gomez (whose rights they would have owned through 2010-11 under the old CBA) after two more years. They stand to lose 24-year-old defenseman Paul Martin following the 2007-08 season, when free agency kicks in at either 27 years old or seven years of service....continued...