NHL unlocked

The NHL Players Association and the NHL came to an agreement Sunday that ended the lockout and will see a 48 or 50 game season.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement around 4:45 a.m. ET Sunday. While the deal still needs to be ratified by the players and the league, here are some of the main highlights, based on information from sources:

– The CBA will run for 10 years through 2021-22, with an option to terminate the deal after eight years.

– Players receive defined benefit pension plan.

– Owners and players split revenue 50-50 each season, with the players receiving US$300 million in deferred “make-whole payments” to ease the transition from previous system.

– A pro-rated salary cap of $70.2 million for the shortened 2012-13 season followed by a salary cap of $64.3 million in 2013-14. The salary floor will be set at $44 million for both years.

– Seven-year limit on free-agent contracts (eight-year limit when a team signs its own player to an extension).

– A maximum salary variance of 35 per cent from year to year, with no more than a 50 per cent total difference between any two seasons in the contract.

– The minimum salary starts at $525,000 this season and reaches $750,000 for the 10th and final year of the agreement.

– Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration who is awarded at least $3.5 million.

– Each team will be given the option of two “amnesty buyouts” that can be used to terminate contracts prior to the 2013-14 season or 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal – paid evenly over twice its remaining length – and will count against the players’ overall share in revenues, but not the individual team’s salary cap.

– Revenue sharing between teams increased to $200 million annually.

– Any player on a one-way contract who plays in the American Hockey League with a salary in excess of the NHL’s minimum salary plus $375,000 will have the excess amount charged against his team’s salary cap.

– Unrestricted free agency continues to open on July 1.

– The participation of NHLers in future Olympics has yet to be determined. The decision will be made outside of the CBA.

– The season will run either 48 games or 50 games and will be kept entirely within the conference. Under the 48-game scenario, teams play everyone outside their division three times and an unbalanced schedule internally, with five games against two rivals and four games against two others. The 50-game scenario is more straightforward with five games versus divisional opponents and three more against everyone else in the conference.