From The Ice

McKenzie explains potential for NHL lockout in 2020

09 February 2013: A puck lies in waiting for a face-off during a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ****For Editorial Use Only****
(Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire)

NHL Insider Bob McKenzie made an appearance on Toronto’s SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Friday afternoon.

Having broken the news of Rickard Rakell’s six-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks a short time earlier, McKenzie was asked about the seeming wave of longer-length contracts across the league of late. Since those deals take so long to come off the books, it’s posited to the Insider, the financial jam against the cap gets greater and greater when additional contracts are added into the mix.

‘Where are we going with this? Are GMs reaching a point where they’re concerned they won’t have any cap space, and how much of a problem is this in your mind – if at all – for the league long-term?’

“That’s a really complex question, but I’ll answer it this way,” began McKenzie. “The teams do it because they think that’s the way to keep their costs down and make it affordable. But you’re right. If the cap keeps going up as incrementally slow and marginally as it has for the last couple of years, then that’s where the problem comes in.

“Awhile ago, we were forecasting $100 million cap. It’s going to go up $5 million a year. Everybody was on the gravy train. And then the Canadian dollar tanked. And suddenly everybody has got their horns pulled back in.

Bill Daly doesn’t yet see CBA storm clouds on the horizon

“I will tell you where it’s leading. In my mind, it’s potentially leading to another lockout in 2020. And I would say that one of the big labor issues potentially, if the NHL were to opt out of the CBA in the fall of ’19 with a year’s notice to have the CBA expire in the fall of 2020, would be contract (lengths). So you wouldn’t be able to do six, seven, eight year deals. You’d only be able to do a five-year deal. So I think that’s probably something that might be on the agenda.

“And hey, listen. If I’m a player in the National Hockey League and my escrow – to your point – you keep on filling up the pot with more player expenses, but there’s a specified number that you can only get. That escrow number keeps going up and up and up – 15, 16, 17 percent. Where’s this going to end? If I were the players, I’d be in the position where I’d say, ‘You know what? You guys like the salary cap so much. How about we cap escrow?’”

Source: SiriusXM/ Transcript: Nichols

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