I have a theory.
And, after the Rangers/Winnipeg trade involving Jacob Trouba, I’ve decided to lay it out. That deal was a surprise because the Jets were asking for more, and, on paper, Trouba is worth a greater return.
So, why didn’t it happen?
I think teams believe the NHL and NHLPA, to maintain labour peace, are going to tighten the cap for two years until a new U.S. television deal is announced. Here are the factors:
CHANGING PLAYER ATTITUDES
The days of the hometown discount are ending. There will always be exceptions — Tampa Bay having an excellent team and terrific taxation situation is the obvious one at this time — but more and more players are flexing their financial muscle. The younger generation in particular is indicating it will not be satisfied taking a salary backseat.
In a hard cap system, the punishment for drafting and developing well is that you have to make choices. The Jets are a perfect example, but everyone is feeling it.
Both the league and union have the opportunity to re-open the CBA in September. They are working to avoid it. The players don’t want a stoppage, but they want escrow to be eased. Last season’s number was 11.6 per cent, and if I had that much of my paycheque being withheld every two weeks, I’d be annoyed, too. The league is prepared to work with them on this, and I believe both sides are investigating long-term solutions. (More on this in a minute.)
THE U.S. TV DEAL
The current NBC contract is up after the 2020-21 season. Recently, there was a report the NHL is working on a new deal, with NBC keeping the majority.