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NHLPA Facing Big Decisions

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James Mirtle had a good post on the NHLPA's upcoming meetings and the possibility of Donald Fehr becoming the new Executive Director. In a nod to continuing the PA shenanigans of Alan Eagleson, Bob Goodenow, and Paul Kelly's reign Fehr is working with the five player search committee. Nope, no conflict of interest there.

There are also a number of important issues on the docket including whether or not to exercise the salary cap escalator and whether to extend the CBA for another year. The extension should be a slam dunk. The NHLPA, without a leader, would be sitting ducks for the owners. The more instructive vote on the future of the PA will be on the escalator. This is where James' piece became really interesting:

Finding a middle ground is likely to be difficult, although most agents contacted this week advocated for the cap going up.

"They have to think about what’s best for everyone, not just themselves," said J.P. Barry, a high-profile agent with Creative Artists Agency.

"I feel the [cap] inflator is necessary at this stage given precedent, given we have used it now in every season since 2006. We have contract cycles every year where 25 to 35 per cent of players [become free agents] … and every one of them has benefited somewhat by the fact the inflator was in place. To turn around now and take it away for me would be inherently unfair."

Reading that quotation makes me laugh. The agents aren't necessarily acting in the players' best interests. Tyler Dellow looked at how much actual cash the Blackhawks and Flyers spent this year in a recent post. There are players losing a lot of money to subsidise their opponents. The last comment in that MC79 post is kind of funny. While the players that are free agents stand to lose out on cash and contracts it's not like there aren't already winners and losers under the current CBA. One thing I asked Mirtle was whether agents get paid their commission based on what the player is ultimately paid (net of escrow payments) or based on the value of the contract. He's on the case but in the meantime Justin Bourne saw the question and replied:

@mlse What their contracts say they're for. I've got two emails from player friends TODAY that referenced what escrow does to their earnings

- Justin Bourne

I am definitely missing some angles but it seems to me that the best players will obviously get signed no matter what happens with the cap. The rest of the players have options available to them as well whether that's Europe or short-term deals. However, agents would lose twice. All of their clients that end up signing deals would be much lower and they would also sign fewer players to contracts overall. I think that the cap escalator vote will not only be a good look not only at whether the players are fed up with the high level of escrow payments but it will also serve as a gauge of how powerful player agents are in the NHLPA.

Update: Courtesy of an agent via James Mirtle:

"Yes, agents can only charge a fee on compensation actually received.  If escrow is 18%, agents bill on player's salary less 18%.  When players receive escrow return in October, agents bill on amouint returned."

Links after the jump!


Ball Hockey for Second Harvest - Bitter Leaf Fan
MF37 has more details on the Canada Day Ball Hockey game for Second Harvest.

Regarding that Marc Savard-to-the-Blue Jackets rumor - Puck Daddy
Brandon went out on a limb passing along a rumour and of course, he's getting hammered. He noted these caveats but Wyshynski expands on them.

Habs GM rolls dice with Halak - Red Fisher
Old Man River is uuuuuuupset. And how about that note about making $30M and canning six scouts. Wonder how THAT would fly in Toronto?

Dion’s Day - Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Neat piece by Chansler who was at Dion's unveiling. Try to gues which little fact the commenters latched on to? I'll give you a hint: his name rhymes with Made in Chin.

Trending Topics: Breaking down the Price of Halak trade - Puck Daddy
Ryan Lambert breaks down the reaction to the Halak trade on Twitter.

Vintage Leaf Memories: The time is right for Gilmour to join the Hall
Gilmour could have gone in last year but there'll be no excuse for keeping him out this year.

Nashville Predators trade Dan Hamhuis to Philadelphia for Ryan Parent - On the Forecheck
Once again, the Nashville Predators are bringing a former player of theirs back into the fold, trading Dan Hamhuis to the Philadelphia for defenseman Ryan Parent, who was originally drafted by Nashville in 2005.

Maple Leafs Partial Preseason Schedule 2010-11 - maple stir-up
Here's a partial pre-season schedule for the Leafs. We'll see a lot of Ottawa and Detroit.

Cox: Leafs Eying Hamhuis, Sharp, Horton - Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Reaction to Damien Cox's post today. Surprise, surprise, the proposed trades begin to focus on a young Brandon Wheat King whose name rhymes with "laid in friend"

Rob Blake Officially Calls It a Day -- NHL FanHouse
Rob Blake retires. I'll always remember him as the guy that didn't have the bollocks to sign in Toronto in the summer of 2001 to try to help his hometown team win a Cup.

Spezza "Rally": A Photo Diary - Sens Town
Oh man, if you click one link make it this one.

Nathan Horton, Leafs… Again - maple stir-up
More reaction to Cox's post.