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Report: GMs concerned that players won’t agree to five percent escalator

Donald Fehr: Sidney Crosby

Donald Fehr, left, executive director of the NHL players’ association, talks to reporters as he stands in front of players, including Sidney Crosby, center, following collective bargaining talks between the NHLPA and the NHL in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


We know, we know. Nobody wants to read another story on escrow, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has a tidbit in his most recent 30 Thoughts column that you’ll want to know about.

Assuming you like trades, that is.

Do you like trades?

Of course you do.

According to Friedman, “There are several GMs concerned the players will not use their five percent escalator to raise the salary cap next season. That’s going to make the trade market even tighter.”

Now, for the record, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last month that he didn’t think the escalator would be “an issue. Because I think the players’ association wants to make sure where the cap goes as well because it’s in their interest to do it. I don’t anticipate any issue on the five percent inflator.”

But NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon struck a different tone, maintaining that the players are indeed worried about all the money they’ve been losing to escrow.

“Given that the value of player contracts is and has remained less than the full face-value of their contracts over the last few seasons, players will certainly discuss over the next few months whether to continue to maintain the five percent growth factor every year,” Weatherdon wrote in an email to PHT.

To the rulebook!

According to the CBA (PDF), the players have the right to propose “a different growth factor” than the standard five percent, at which point the players and the league “shall discuss and agree upon a new factor.”

While it doesn’t say how, exactly, that “new factor” will be agreed upon, let’s say the discussion happens and the “new factor” ends up being zero. In 2015-16, there could actually be a lower cap than there is this season.

Hence, the concern among GMs ahead of March 2, as well as the general consensus that the upcoming trade deadline will be all about the rentals, as opposed to players with term remaining on their deals.

Related: Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar