A little later than most people.
That’s how much the NHLPA negotiated last summer for Dustin Penner, a 23-year-old who had a contract with the team through 2020-21 and had a strong training camp and preseason.
A new contract for Penner would have paid him $6.25 million a year.
The deal, negotiated by the NHL Players Association (NPA), was for a five-year deal, with the possibility of a further five years if Penner made a strong showing in the playoffs.
In fact, the contract included a clause that would have kept Penner from getting a raise for the next four years, which would have made him a top-six forward in the NHL.
Instead, he received a $4 million raise, which is what he got last summer.
“It was the best contract we could get,” said Patrick Burke, Penner’s agent.
That is when you start to think, ‘Oh my God, they are going to take away a lot of what we have done.'” “
If you are in a negotiation with a player who is in the final year of his contract, it is a tough time to be in.
That is when you start to think, ‘Oh my God, they are going to take away a lot of what we have done.'”
Burke said he was in talks with the NPA during the summer about what kind of raise Penner was asking for, and the union told him they would be “very happy to” make a similar offer.
In other words, the NAB negotiated the contract before Penner had a chance to play in a regular-season game.
But it’s not like he missed out on the playoffs, which he got a chance last season and is still looking forward to next season.
Penner also got to sign a four-year, $10 million contract extension before the regular season started last fall, which could have given him more than $30 million over four years.
“There is nothing that he would be happy with, and I think the players really understand that,” Burke said.
“But I think they understand the value of what the league is trying to accomplish and what we are trying to achieve.”
The NHLPA also negotiated a two-year contract for Jaromir Jagr, which will pay him $8.25 in 2018-19 and $7.5 million in 2019-20.
The player-friendly CBA also gives players a maximum of $3.5 billion in revenue for the season and $2.5 for every win.
In terms of the cap, the maximum for the 2018-2019 season was $71.5-million, and in 2019 it will be $72.5.
But as Burke pointed out, the NHL has yet to put in a figure for the 2020-20 season.
Burke said the NAPA negotiated a deal for all 30 teams last summer, and that they will now “just see what the NCA and the players want.”
But the NDA has been a bit more cautious than the NPPA.
The union had a very positive impact on the NHL’s cap this year, as it negotiated a lower-than-expected $1.6-billion increase.
“The league is doing a good job of bringing the cap down, and hopefully we can do the same for our players,” Burke told the Globe.
The NHL and NHLPA reached a collective bargaining agreement in 2013, and a new CBA was signed in 2017.
But the union has been very vocal about its desire to get players in the league by 2019, and Burke thinks that has paid off.
The NPA has pushed for more players to get into the league in 2019, while also advocating for a deal to make the salary cap go down even further, with a cap floor of $71 million for the first time in the history of the league.
But that was a difficult and complicated negotiation, which resulted in a lower cap number.
Burke also believes the players’ demands have not been met.
“We want to see more money in the next CBA,” Burke says.
“Our players have been really passionate about that, and they are pushing us hard.
But we have to do the right thing.”
For now, the player-centric talks continue.
Burke and his team are currently working on their third draft pick, which was a top prospect for the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 NHL Draft.
But he also said that the Nabs’ first pick, with picks No. 2 and No. 9 in the 2019 NHL Draft, were “pretty high-end picks” and could be available in the future.
“At this point, I don’t see a lot in the pipeline,” Burke explains.
“They are just talking about drafting players in June, so that is where we are at right now.”
This story was originally published in the Globe on March 15, 2018.