The NHL lockout is officially over. Frankly, I'm
not quite sure how to react. Should I be jumping for joy, because I get to see
professional hockey again? Should I be disgusted by the fact that this is the
second time the league and players have held the fans hostage in the name of
the all mighty dollar? Whatever the case, the game will resume sometime this
season, assuming the players ratify the new collective bargaining agreement.
Just so you're clear, the announcement that was made early Sunday
morning deals with the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, as
agreed to by the negotiators from both the NHL and NHLPA. The players need to
vote to formally approve the agreement. All signs suggest that they will, but
you never know.
Stranger things have happened.
As for the
matters that mean the most to fans, those details are still pending. Namely,
when will the season starts? Details like training camps, camp roster sizes and
a formal schedule still need to be hashed out.
The league had hoped to
fit in a 48-games schedule if the lockout was resolved this week. That's still
a possibility, but it would mean cramming more games into a shorter window of
time. Most venues have other events booked after June, the normal end to the
Without stadiums to play games in, the league would need
to fit their schedules into available stadium slots. The Sharks still have to
accommodate the SAP Open tennis tournament in February, which is typically when
they take the longest road trip of the season. If the season where to start in
late January, expect a flurry of home games in the first two weeks, followed by
a void in the home schedule for 14 to 17 days.
The biggest question
mark for San Jose will be there roster this season. If the owners got their way
in the new agreement, the salary cap will have been reduced. That means, the
Sharks may be forced to trim some regular roster players or re-negotiate
contracts in order to get under the salary cap.
Don't expect too many
players to step up to contract renegotiations after having already given up
rights in the new bargaining agreement.
That means guys like Ryane
Clowe and Michal Handzus could become early cap casualties.
need to regroup back in San Jose. As far as we know, only Dan Boyle, Logan
Couture, Brad Stuart and Martin Havlat are currently in San Jose. According to
CapGeek.com, the Sharks only have 21 players on their roster.
David Pollak, from the San Jose Mercury News, reported
that the league's cap target hovers around the $60 million mark. It's not clear
how that cap will be prorated to the upcoming abridged season, but if it's
applied game-for-game, then San Jose would need to trim payroll.
They're currently sitting at $65,241,667. Under the old CBA, the team still had
$4 million in cap space. Under the new agreement, then would need to cut $5
million and still fill four roster spots. The likely scenario would see Clowe
and Handzus departing along with their combined $6.125 million salary. Both
players are also unrestricted free agents at the end of this season, so both
could be cut and re-signed to longer deals.
That seems more likely for
Clowe, given his upside. Handzus is at the end of his career, and his injury
plagued 2011-12 season makes him an unlikely candidate for a multi-year deal.
He appeared in only two playoff games for San Jose last season.
Jose's pool of veteran role players were not re-signed during the off-season
and it's unlikely that you'll see most of those guys back. Brad Winchester
would be a likely candidate to return, as the Sharks need some girth at forward
and it's unlikely that he'd command much more than the $725,000 he earned last
Dominic Moore would have likely earned a pay raise over this
$1.2 million contract under the old CBA, but it's unknown how much he will
command this season.
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