As Saturday's marathon NHL negotiating session dragged into the early hours of Sunday morning, the call for compromise on a key issue from those tired of waiting seemed perfectly reasonable. The decisive negotiation over next season's salary cap threatened to be the thorny issue that prevented a deal. When negotiations started, the players wanted a $65 million salary cap for next season, and the owners offered $60 million. As the talks eked forward, the owners moved to $62.5 million, but the players weren't willing to move much more from their position. This was too key an issue for them.
And they're not the only ones who'll benefit. While the league was trying to keep the salary cap maximum closer to the floor ($44 million) in part to foster more parity moving forward, there were those in charge of running teams perfectly happy to see the players hold firm. According to colleague Pierre LeBrun, next year's salary cap will be $64.3 million, and that's no small win for the players.
Dropping the salary cap to $60 million next season and allowing two amnesty buyouts would have been a great reward for teams with mistakes on their rosters and those looking to get out of bad deals. But what about those general managers who have successfully built a roster without any bad deals? They would have been scrambling.
"It's sports answer to socialism," said one NHL front office executive when discussing the possibility of facing a $60 million salary cap next season.
The players held firm, and there are most certainly benefactors as a result on the owners' side as well.
To read more from Craig Custance and get access to all of Insider's NHL content, sign up today.