Doug Pensinger - Getty Images
James Mirtle believes the players will turn down the NHL's offer.
First came the optimism.
Now here’s the realism.
The players will not be accepting the league’s 50-50 proposal that was released in full on Wednesday morning.
And it’s not so much the final number they’re opposed to.
Instead, it comes back to a familiar topic: escrow.
Teams that are rebuilding stand to be in good positioning if the CBA offer does get accepted.
In the latest offer that commissioner Gary Bettman offered to the NHLPA on Tuesday, one of the proposals was to push back free agency by a year. But because entry-level contracts would also shrink by a year, that middle period of restricted free agency would effectively now last six years.
This is important because the NHL is proposing that contracts be capped at five years.
In the case of the Oilers, who signed Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to long-term deals that might have reflected their value on the open market this summer, it could mean avoiding a similar spending spree in the future with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
Might we be saying goodbye to Reebok jerseys?
The NHL license is currently held by Reebok, a company roughly six times Bauer’s size in terms of annual revenues and part of the global athletic giant Adidas.
"We have every intention of bidding," Bauer president and chief executive officer Kevin Davis said after the company’s annual general meeting Tuesday at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
If successful, it would be a huge coup that would give the leading hockey brand more sales and marketing muscle, a sports apparel industry analyst said.
The NHL jersey business is worth an estimated $200 million a year, including fitting the players themselves and their fans with replicas.