The NHL’s National Hockey League announced Monday that it has signed up over 2,000 individuals to help fill more than 800 positions in its hockey division, with an additional 1,500 applicants expected to apply in the coming weeks.
The announcement comes as the league’s player union is negotiating with the NHLPA over an improved collective bargaining agreement, and as players are preparing to hit the road in protest against the NHL’s new labor deal.
The players union’s latest offer for new contract negotiations is an increase to the NHL Players’ Association’s $15 million per year salary cap, which it had proposed in December.
The union’s new proposal includes $20 million in additional salary cap flexibility to be allocated over a five-year span, a total of $75 million.
The NHLPA said Monday that the union will not accept the increased salary cap figure, and instead will propose a new deal that would be more aligned with the collective bargaining process.
“We have already made progress on a new collective bargaining contract,” said Kevin Pollock, NHLPA general counsel.
“We believe that this new collective agreement will address key concerns for the players, including a higher salary cap for players who have already won two Stanley Cups and an increase in the average annual salary cap to $16 million.
Players have expressed their desire to participate in negotiations as part of the process.””
We are confident that the players will continue to work with the union to come to an agreement that will better protect their jobs and benefit the entire league,” Pollock added.
The union is seeking to increase the average salary cap from $16.4 million to $18 million, and has already approved the proposal for a higher $20-million cap, while the union has also proposed $1.5 billion in new revenue sharing to help the league meet its financial obligations, which the union said would bring in more than $2 billion a year for the league.
The new proposed salary cap would be the largest in the NHL and is almost triple the $13 million average salary for the NHL All-Star Game in 2019.
The new salary cap will be based on the same $15.1 million average annual cap that the league had last year.
The National Hockey Association has struggled to attract new players this offseason, with the league having to make some roster moves in the wake of the collapse of the American Hockey League.
A number of players who had previously played in the AHL have joined the NHL, and several other players who spent time in the KHL are now back in the league with the Nashville Predators.
In its announcement, the NHL said it will “continue to monitor the progress of the players’ union negotiations.”
The NHLPA, however, has indicated that it will seek to reduce the salary cap at a minimum, and that it would like to see the new salary structure be more in line with the current CBA.
The deal, which has yet to be ratified by NHL owners, will begin in 2020 and run through 2021.