The NHLPA meetings are set to begin today and it is expected the NHLPA will name Donald Fehr executive director in the next 48 hours, likely as early as this afternoon.
Fehr who has been the consensus choice among players and agents to run the NHLPA, is believed to be leaning towards accepting the job.
The players association has been in disarray since Bob Goodenow was asked to step down as NHLPA chief on July 28, 2005.
Getting a leader in place with Fehr’s presence is important for the players moving forward. The current collective bargaining agreement has been extended until September 2012, but uncertainty surrounds the next set of negotiations.
The game may not be healthier but a hard cap has led to players having trouble finding jobs. Meanwhile, an interesting dynamic to watch in the next 18 months may not be the players association but owners of small market teams who are looking to round up support for a lower cap to be imposed.
Six years ago, the Penguins were among the group of small market teams who were advocates of a cap in the low $30 million range. The Penguins are now seen around the league as being on the side of the Rangers and Maple Leafs of the hockey world. Being able to consistently spend up to the cap.
Owners in Florida, Carolina, Atlanta are among 7-to-8 teams who have been mentioned throughout the league as teams expected to be strong advocates of a lower cap.
A few surprise teams like the New Jersey Devils are also believed to be in favor of a lower cap. It’s hard to believe based on their pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk but that was the word coming out of the owners meetings.
I don’t expect the small market owners to find enough support but it’s going to be an interesting dynamic to watch.
Meanwhile, agents, players are eyeing a revenue sharing system that includes a luxury tax but early indications are the owners are not in favor of such a system. There has been a big complaint among owners that putting a soft cap similar to the NBA’s system is not the answer.
Would be a perfect scenario for the Penguins but unlikely to gain league wide support.