NHL fans will get their first glimpse of the 2018-19 season on Friday when the NHL and the NHLPA begin negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, the league said Thursday.
The two sides are expected to finalize the terms of the deal on Friday.
The negotiations will be the first in years since the players and owners reached an agreement in 2014.
The 2018-2019 NHL season is set to begin in April.
“We expect to conclude negotiations with the league and the players early in the year,” NHL spokesman Brian Peck said.
“The timing of the announcement of the new CBA agreement is not yet known, but we expect to be able to announce it in the coming days.”
The CBA will cover the players’ salary cap, health care, performance bonuses and other labor matters, but not the salary cap.
That leaves the players in the hands of a collective bargaining agent, who will determine the value of players’ contracts.
That agent will be overseen by the players union, which will determine how much money the players get paid each year.
In exchange for that authority, the players have been able to increase the size of the salary-cap without requiring the union to negotiate for it.
The agreement includes a provision that the owners are allowed to pay players’ salaries and bonuses up to $25 million a year.
The deal would have raised the cap to $67.5 million a season, or roughly $60 million for each team.
The players would have been eligible to earn an additional $2 million a team, which the union had been able a year ago to do, Peck said Thursday on a conference call with reporters.
“There was an opportunity to raise that to $50 million and it was denied, so we are happy to see that we are not going to need to go through that process again,” Peck said, adding that the union is pleased to see the CBA be finalized.
The new CAB will also allow the league to negotiate with teams about how much of a salary cap increase the league will demand and when.
The league will also be allowed to negotiate salary cap-related trade exceptions, such as players’ rights and bonuses.
The league will continue to negotiate the CAB with teams.