New CBA Points of Interest for Columbus Fans

Jonathan Daniel

Details of the new collective bargaining agreement are slowly being revealed, but there are some points of interest of note to Columbus fans.

The details of the new CBA between the NHL and NHLPA are slowly being revealed, but there are a few reported elements that I find particularly interesting.

The first point of interest is the reported salary cap. Apparently this year's pro-rated cap will be set at $70.2 million, with a floor of $44 million. Next year, the cap drops to $64.3 million, again with a floor of $44 million. From a Columbus perspective, this doesn't have much of an impact. According to Cap Geek, the cap payroll for the Jackets this season is approximately $57.6 million. Next year, the Jackets currently sit at $42.85 million with 14 players signed. Those 14 include the core of the forwards like R.J. Umberger, Brandon Dubinsky, Derick Brassard, Nick Foligno, Ryan Johansen and Derek Dorsett. Cam Atkinson needs a new deal for next year, and look for Boone Jenner to push for a roster spot. The defense is essentially set for next season, with the exception of the expiry of Adrian Aucoin's deal.

Another point is the reported addition of two "amnesty buyouts", that can be used prior to next season or the season after. The payout remains the same as current buyouts- two-thirds of the salary over double the remaining length. The new wrinkle is these two buyouts don't count against the salary cap. At this point I don't see any contracts that the Jackets would want to buy out. The players that have under long term deals are all at reasonable cap hits. James Wisniewski is, in my estimation, the only long term deal with a player who may be considered "overpaid" by some. That said, I don't think he will be a candidate for buyout unless he has a dismal season this year and next.

A component of the new deal that is, unfortunately, of serious relevance to the Jackets is the modification to the draft lottery. The 14 non-playoff teams will each have the same odds of winning the lottery as before, but the change to the system is the removal of the rule that a team can only move up four slots if they win. Under the new format, if a team wins the lottery, they earn the first overall pick.

The final point worth discussion is the reported length of the new CBA. It is a ten-year deal, with an opt-out clause after eight. This will lead to some stability with the hope that we don't have to deal with another lockout any time soon.

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