With neither side budging, most hope lost if not completely lost for a NHL season, there is little to look forward to for the NHL. That is, except for free agency.
NHL contracts are a unique in, unlike what seems logical, that their Standard Player Contract agrees to a league year. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) defines a league year as July 1 through June 30 of the next year.
Players, therefore, sign for a number of years that may or may not include the NHL playing; not for a particular number of seasons played for an organization.
When a new CBA is agreed upon, it seems plausible that the league cap will decrease. Such a decrease will find teams scrambling to restructure their salaries to fit within the new parameters. Factor in that some players’ contracts will no longer be in effect for a particular team, some of them may not be re-signed.
One particular case of this comes to mind. Brought on for offensive talent, Alexander Semin signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. If the season is lost, Semin hits the free-market again and could quite possibly never play a single game for the Hurricanes.
Other players that become unrestricted free agents are Jarome Iginla, Kimmo Timmonen, Patrik Elias, Niklas Backstrom (G), Lubomir Visnovsky, Sergei Gonchar, Ryan Getzlaf, Cory Perry, Tim Thomas, Mike Ribeiro, Daniel Alfredsson, Tim Conolly, Andy McDonald, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, and Joffrey Lupul.
Young unrestricted free agents also hitting free agency are Guillaume Latendresse, Roman Cervenka, Alexander Edler, Ladislav Smid, Tyler Bozak, Damien Brunner, Blake Comeau, Viktor Stalberg and Wojtek Wolski.
And lastly, some of the more well known restricted free agents are Tuukka Rask, Sam Gagner, Alex Pietrangelo, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Stewart, Steve Mason, Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, Patrik Berglund, Tyler Kennedy, Artem Anisimov and Lauri Korpikoski.
Ideally, fans want a season or a partial season to be played. But, if the two sides fail to come to an agreement and a full season is lost, you can spend the winter arguing with your friends about what free agents your favorite team will try and sign.