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Report: NHL, NHLPA nearing agreement on new CBA

Graig Abel / World Cup of Hockey / Getty

The NHL and NHLPA are close to a new collective bargaining agreement that would include solutions for the league's revenue losses the COVID-19 shutdown has caused, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.

The framework discussed would extend the CBA for "around six years," Wyshynski adds.

All 700-plus players are expected to vote on a new CBA, and the return-to-play protocols to restart the league with an expanded 24-team playoff this summer. The league has yet to announce the two hub city locations where the games will be played.

As part of the potential agreement, the salary cap would reportedly remain stagnant at $81.5 million over the next three seasons.

One major point of contention has been escrow, which is a system that withholds a percentage of the players' salaries to ensure all hockey-related revenue is split equally between the NHL and the players. A huge loss in hockey-related revenue due to the hiatus has drastically altered the league's finances.

New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin and Anaheim Ducks veteran Ryan Kesler voiced their dissatisfaction about the high escrow levels, with the former saying the system has "protected the owners' income."

Due to the steep revenue losses, there was speculation escrow could rise as high as 35% for the players, according to Wyshynski. Under the current CBA structure being discussed, however, escrow has reportedly been capped at 20% for the first two seasons of the deal.

Both sides also reportedly support a 10% salary deferral for the players. That money would be paid to the players in two years under what is expected to be a lower escrow rate, which would help the owners' cash flow in the coming seasons.

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