The NHL and NHLPA agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement on Sunday morning after a 16-hour marathon negotiating session.
The tentative deal ends the 113-day lockout and will finally allow fans to get back to enjoying hockey (us too.)
But before we do that, a look at the new CBA — which, it should be noted, is 10 years in length with an opt-out clause for each side that kicks in after the eighth year:
The 2012-13 season will be a transition year — the upper level is set at $60 million with teams allowed to spend up to $70.2 million. In year two, the cap will move to $64.3 million (the NHL met the NHLPA's request on that figure, as the league wanted it at $60 million.)
Should be noted the salary floor for both 2012-13 and 2013-14 is $44 million.
Term limit is set at seven years, eight if a player is resigning with his own team. Maximum salary variance is 35 percent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent from the highest year.
All 14 non-playoff teams will get a shot a the first overall selection. Under the NHL's previous format, only the bottom four teams (26th through 30th place) were eligible to receive the No. 1 pick, and teams were only able move up a maximum of four spots and down a maximum of one spot.
The new format is in line with the NBA Draft Lottery, which can lead to some wild results, like in 1993 — that year, the Orlando Magic won the No. 1 pick in the draft despite finishing the 1992 season with a 41-41 record and holding just a 1.52 percent chance of winning the lottery.
Decisions will still be handled by Brendan Shanahan, but there's a new wrinkle to the appeal process. Appeals will first go through NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and, for suspensions of six games or more, a neutral third party will get involved.
– The start of free agency will remain on July 1. The NHL had hoped to push it to July 10, but capitulated to the players' desire to keep it at the start of the month.
– Revenue sharing among clubs will increase to $200 million. There's also a NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million.
– Olympic participation will be dealt with outside of the new agreement, and a joint league-player committee (possibly the NHL-NHLPA International Committee) will likely handle the decision-making.
– Teams will reportedly receive two amnesty-style buyouts that can be used over the next two offseasons.
– Minimum player salaries will begin at 2011-12′s rate of $525K. The Canadian Press' Chris Johnston reports that they'll top off at $750K in the seasons nine and 10 (a bit less than the NHLPA's demands).
We'll have more details regarding the new CBA as they become available.