The 2020 CBA extension was ratified on Friday, July 10 in the form of a Memo of Understanding. This isn’t the final text of the CBA itself, which will take a great deal of time to produce. The new CBA will run from next season (although the document contains things that apply to this season’s playoffs and offseason) through to 2025-2026. There is a mechanism to extend it for one year. Since this is an extension of the existing document, most of the changes just involve erasing a paragraph and adding a new one.
For some things, it’s simple numbers that have changed.
New ELC Amounts
Players on Entry Level Contracts have been stuck at a maximum of $925,000 on two-way deals that pay a maximum of $70,000 in the minors since 2013. The new numbers gradually rise and are based on draft year, not signing year.
- 2019 $925,000
- 2020 $925,000
- 2021 $925,000
- 2022 $950,000
- 2023 $950,000
- 2024 $975,000
- 2025 $975,000
- 2026 $1,000,000 /
The minors salary that goes with those is:
- 2019 $70,000
- 2020 $80,000
- 2021 $80,000
- 2022 $82,500
- 2023 $82,500
- 2024 $85,000
- 2025 $85,000
- 2026 $87,500/
The available bonuses for players on ELCs have been augmented and increased. There are three types of bonuses: amounts paid by the league to players who win awards or are named to all-star teams (these don’t count against the salary cap) and two types of bonuses paid by the team that do count against the cap — one that mirrors the league-paid awards and one set that is tied to performance metrics.
More types of trophy wins have been added to the league-paid bonuses beginning next season, and the amounts have been increased by 50% beginning in 2022.
More trophy wins have been added to the club-paid bonuses as well beginning next year, and the aggregate amounts players can earn from these bonuses have increased for contracts signed after the 2022 draft.
The A bonuses (performance metrics) were capped at $212,500 per bonus paid, to an aggregate total of $850,000. Those numbers will be $250,000 and $1 million.
The B bonuses (match the league-paid bonuses for trophy wins, etc.) will increase from an aggregate of $2 million to $2.5 million starting after the 2022 draft.
Total ELC maximum by 2022 will become $4.45 million, up from the current $3.775 million.
NHL Minimum Salary
The minimum salary in the current season is $700,000. The new CBA keeps the formerly agreed upon minimums for the next two years and then adds some new increases:
- 2019-20 $700,000
- 2020-21 $700,000
- 2021-22 $750,000
- 2022-23 $750,000
- 2023-24 $775,000
- 2024-25 $775,000
- 2025-26 $775,000 /
The minimum salary is used in various calculations within the CBA, like the rules for how much of a cap hit can be buried in the minors and how much salary can be paid as signing bonuses. There is nothing in this MOU to indicate that future minimums will change the cap hit (averaged annual value or AAV) of any current contracts. Note: salary is cash paid, not the AAV, and it has always been possible to structure a multi-year deal that can have a lower AAV than the minimum salary in a given year.
The salary cap will not change for next year, and beyond that, the process of setting the cap and the escrow amounts is dependant on actual revenues. The process is described in detail here:
NHL accounting in a pandemic season: divvying up debt instead of dollars
The structure of contracts where the salary is higher in the first years than the later years has been tightened up:
For all “Front-Loaded SPCs” (as defined below), the difference between the stated Player Salary and Bonuses in any immediately adjacent League Years of that SPC cannot exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the stated Player Salary and Bonuses of the first League Year of such Front-Loaded SPC. Additionally, under no circumstances may the stated Player Salary and Bonuses in any League Year of a Front-Loaded SPC be less than sixty (60) percent of the highest stated Player Salary and Bonuses in a League Year of that same Front-Loaded SPC.
The adjacent year percentage used to be 35 and the single year percentage was 50. The definitions of the front-loaded contact remain the same and are in Article 50.7 (a) of the existing CBA document.
Call this the summer of 2019 rule, but the way a qualifying offer due an expiring RFA is calculated has changed for new contracts signed from now on.
68. Qualifying Offers For SPCs signed after the date of this agreement, if the minimum Paragraph 1 NHL Salary portion of a Player’s Qualifying Offer would otherwise be greater than 120% of the Averaged Amount of the SPC, the minimum Paragraph 1 NHL Salary portion of the Qualifying Offer will instead be 120% of the Averaged Amount. For example, if a Player has a 3 year SPC with Paragraph 1 NHL Salaries of $3.0 million in Year 1, $6.0 million in Year 2, and $9.0 million in Year 3, the minimum Paragraph 1 NHL Salary portion of the Qualifying Offer will be $7.2 million. If, however, such Player’s 3 year SPC had Paragraph 1 NHL Salaries of $5.0 million in Year 1, $6.0 million in Year 2, and $7.0 million in Year 3, the minimum Paragraph 1 NHL Salary portion of the Qualifying Offer will be $7.0 million.
Qualifying offers are not just whatever a team feels like offering. They follow a formula and are based on the salary (not cap hit) of the current year of the RFA’s contract as it expires. Under the new rules, if that final year’s salary is so large that it is more than 120% of the AAV, the AAV is used instead of the salary to determine the qualifying offer.
This name in the news was used as an example:
This was amended in the new CBA.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 11, 2020
For all new such contracts moving forward, the Qualifying Offer will be the lesser of (1) the salary in the final year of the contract, or (2) 120% of the AAV.
So had Brock signed this summer his QO would have been $7.05M rather than $7.5M. https://t.co/1X0jSTT73y
Note: the old rules still apply to Boeser and anyone else who signed one of those deals last summer, but the incentive to sign them in the future has been slightly adjusted.
NHL players don’t get paid a salary in the playoffs. Their paycheques are paid during the regular season only, but they do get money for appearing in the playoffs, paid out of a fund that is created by the league each year.
For this season, the Playoff Fund will be increased from $16 Million to $32 Million.
Then it will be:
- 2020/21 $20 Million
- 2021/22 $20 Million
- 2022/23 $21 Million
- 2023/24 $22 Million
- 2024/25 $23 Million
- 2025/26 $24 Million /
Because the regular season wasn’t quite 82 games long, some rules about games played or games on a roster will be prorated by a 70/82 formula and then rounded to whole games.
Normally, 10 games played in a season prevents an ELC from “sliding”. That is now nine games. This rule applies only to players who were on the NHL roster on the day the regular season was frozen (March 16). If a player joins a team now and plays nine games in the playoffs, their ELC can still slide.
Forty games on the roster is used to measure an “accrued season” for determining when a player becomes a UFA. For players who were on the roster in March, that number is now 34.
This process affects several free agency calculations, qualifying offer calculations, arbitration eligibility and waiver exemption. The new waiver exemption calculation takes some games off the number of NHL games played before a player loses their exemption is they were on an NHL roster in this past March.
All the rules about days on a roster are unaffected.
Qualifying Round Games
The qualifying round games count as playoff games for most purposes, but do not count towards the “accrued seasons” that determine UFA status. The games also do not count as playoff games for performance bonuses, but they do count as NHL games played.
The Full Documents
If you want to dig in deeper to the multiple pages on insurance rules or figure out the new process that has replaced “tagging”, the Memo of Understanding and the original CBA are ready for you to read.