Thursday, January 17, 2008

Minor Agreement In NHL/IIHF Talks

The last NHL/IIHF player transfer deal expired on January 1st, 2008. The European nations were upset at the low player transfer fees ($200,000 US per player). They saw how the lack of a player transfer deal with Russia was benefitting Russian hockey in that the number of Russian players in the NHL was declining and decided they could opt out of the deal as well.

Talks have been underway to create a new process. These talks are likely doomed to limited success unless the NHL agrees to pay much larger transfer fees or agrees to negotiate player transfers individually on a player by player basis. Nevertheless, a minor agreement has been reached. All junior aged (under 20) players with contracts in IIHF leagues will not be allowed to enter North American contracts in the future unless they are first round draft picks by the NHL or their Europeans team has given the OK. From the NHL's point of view, this is basically an agreement to the status quo. It is very rare that any such player would sign a North American deal. It makes it look as though there was a negotiation success, but nothing significant has changed.

From the European standpoint, this is likely the best they can get. So they took it. The hope from some of the European nations (such as Russia) is that in the near future a player who is not an NHL first round draft pick will establish himself as a top prospect (say by being MVP of the World Junior Championships) and his NHL team will decide they want him now. This could be arranged. That team would have to individually negotiate a transfer that would likely cost much more than the old $200,000 US transfer fee. This would set a precedent for much larger transfer fees and/or individually negotiated transfers which would eventually become the new law of international hockey.

Here is the TSN story on this minor agreement, which will likely be the most significant result of these talks.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?