Its a real quandary. The Players will have to give up something. The profit/revenue sharing margin is currently 57% for the players, the Owners want it less than 50%..closer to 45%. The Owners, who seemingly can't control themselves when it comes to a players 1st contract after their entry level signing, want a cap on the amount of allowable years.... we see 10,12,14 yr contracts thus far (*note I didn't mention the 15 yr given to Dipietro... can we really call him a player for all of the time he has been injured?). I figure the players will have to bite the bullet and 'let them' cap it somewhere around the 6-7 year mark.
I can't see the players wanting to sign off on having a longer period before they can become a unrestricted free agent. Right now its the 27th birthday year of a player that is the benchmark. Once a player hits 27 (provided he began in the league -signed his first contract at 20..I think...) the following year he's a UFA. The Owners want them to jump to 30 before their free agent year. Giving up 3 yrs of good salary because the Owners can't control themselves on the second contract seems an over kill. I think Owners should concede one of these. These will be the biggest areas to conquer in these negotiations. I'd love to say wholeheartedly that the season begins on time... but many players are already planning a trip on one year contracts to the KHL and other European Elite Leagues.... its beginning to seem like they know something I don't.