New CBA details and how they affect the Leafs

If you’re a fan of hockey, collective agreements, or both, it’s been an interesting few days. The NHLPA Executive Committee has approved the CBA and now it has been put to a general vote from their membership requiring a simple majority to pass. That won’t be finalized until Friday and in the meantime we are learning more about the document itself. Here are some of the key pieces of information…

This is one of the big ones that I was waiting to see, and what we’ve learned is the January open of training camp timeline that had been rumoured wasn’t close to being true at all. Instead we will have the shortest of offseasons, and a very condensed training camp. This is awesome from a wanting to watch a whole lot of hockey perspective and an offseason that is going to produce a lot of news in a short period of time, but it means the Leafs won’t have as much time to celebrate their cup victory as I would have liked to see.

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The big question that comes up from this is when will the draft take place? And how on earth are they going to fit restricted free agent arbitrations into that narrow window of time?

This seems like pretty tight timelines, but I guess a lot of the reasoning behind it being drawn out in other years are conflicts with other arena bookings, travel, and wanting to give players a little bit of time with their families. All of that is off the table this year, so we’re going to see them get it done fast.

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The NHL is also going back to Free Agency classic which seems like a good thing. The negotiating beforehand thing never did much for me, and given that we always had signings right at the opening of free agency it was just a way to cover up what we all knew was happening already and that was negotiating before it was allowed.

From a Leafs perspective this might allow them the ability to trade the rights of some of their unrestricted free agents to other teams so they can negotiate beforehand. Perhaps Dubas can pick up something for Tyson Barrie after all.

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The NHL cutting down on draft pick conditions seems like a good thing, if for only that we don’t have to wait for days after the trade to learn what the conditions are. As far as the example above, it’s too bad that we’ll probably still have the conditions apply to the Kyle Clifford trade.

Makes sense as it is the post season, but unfortunate that it won’t count as regular season games so Matthews could have had a shot at hitting 50 goals this year.

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This is still the best bargain in hockey.

Overall the quick turnaround to the start of the 2020-21 season seems like an accommodation made to the seven teams that won’t be involved in the return to play. Trimming down the time that they will spend waiting to play again seems fair and really it only punishes the top four teams, who might be a little exhausted by next summer to push for a repeat performance. The lack of salary cap movement, and the condensed offseason should keep hockey very entertaining throughout the months of October and November, and I’m willing to guess we’ll see a contract hold out or two or dozen around the league.

As for the Leafs in all of this, well, hopefully they go far in the playoffs and have to suffer through being a tired team in 2020-21, but from all the details leaked there doesn’t seem to be anything that particularly punishes or benefits the Leafs. The loopholes they love seem to be largely staying open, and as a rather young team they shouldn’t have too much trouble with the aggressive schedule.

Hopefully we’ll learn more details in the coming days, and see a full copy of the collective agreement shortly after it’s made official.