Cap still included in league's offer

A look at key points in the NHL's proposal Wednesday to the NHL
Players' Association:

Agreement length

The deal would cover the 2004-05 season and
the following six seasons through 2010-11. The players' association
would have the sole right to reopen the agreement after four years.

Salary cap
The new system would ensure that total league-wide
player compensation in any year will not be under 53 percent of the
league's revenues or exceed 55 percent. If teams spend less than 53
percent of the NHL's revenues, they will be required to contribute
additional dollars to a pool to be distributed to the players.

Floating team payroll

The new range was established by
averaging total team payrolls, reflecting the NHL's acceptance of
the players' association offer to roll back all existing contracts
by 24 percent. Each team would be required to spend at least $29.8
million in player salaries ($32 million including benefits) and no
more than $40 million in salaries ($42.2 million including

Unrestricted free agency
Age for Group 3 free agency reduced
to age 30 beginning with the 2006-07 season.

Entry level system
Four-year, two-way rookie contracts that
would cap salaries at $850,000 per year -- including signing and
performance bonuses. The signing bonus maximum in each year would
be $100,000 for draft picks 1-5; $75,000 for picks 6-15; $50,000
for picks 16-30; and $40,000 for picks 31 and up. The league also
proposed giving its own entry-level bonuses, awarding $500,000 to
entry-level players who win the Hart, Norris, Vezina and Selke
trophies; $400,000 to second-place finishers; $300,000 for a
third-place finish; $200,000 for fourth; and $100,000 for fifth

Restricted free agency
Qualifying offers from teams would
have to be 100 percent of the previous year's salary to players
earning less than $800,000; and 75 percent or $800,000, whichever
is greater, to players who earned $800,000 or more the previous
season. The right-to-match and draft choice compensation remain the
same from the previous agreement.

Salary arbitration
Mutual process in which players and clubs
have same rights to request arbitration. In old system, only
players could request arbitration. Arbitration was eliminated in
NHL's Dec. 14 offer. The NHL would reserve the right to eliminate
arbitration at any time by giving players unrestricted free agency
at 28 in return.

Player contracts
Minimum salary increased 62 percent to
$300,000 per year. Guaranteed contracts would remain in existence
but the maximum length would be three years. Current contracts
would be grandfathered.

Profit sharing
The NHL would share profits equally with the
players' association once a negotiated threshold is exceeded.

Joint audit
Each year's accounting will be performed by an
independent firm. There would be a mandatory $2 million fine and
loss of a first-round draft pick for clubs that fail to disclose
required financial information. A repeat offense would bring a $5
million fine and loss of three first-round draft picks.

2004-2005 season
To compensate players for a shortened 2004-05
regular season with a full playoffs, the NHLPA would share money
generated from the 2005 postseason to ensure they receive 53
percent of league revenues for the season.

Joint owner-player council
Establishment of a council to meet
on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual interest relating
both to business and game-related matters.