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Draft Format discussed, fantastic reve-news, and changes

June 10, 2024, 7:04 PM ET [22 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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This one link contains a lot of tidbits to chew on. First and foremost, players may get a total refund plus a top off for the first time since 2011-12. Regardless of all the “stuff” the cash flow came in big this year, though final numbers haven’t been released. Ads are probably part of the bump (though not necessarily beloved by all). I only know one person who saw the $ for helmet ads and I can’t get it out of him. Apparently it was huge, so the jersey ads have to be fairly spectacular for the larger markets. Sports betting seems to be a fully integrated part as well. In truth, I’m not a fan. In particular having the broadcaster own a betting company seems like it’s ripe for issues. For the players though, this is fantastic.

After the shut down there was a Memorandum of Understanding that had players locked at 20% escrow for 3 years and followed by 3 years of 6%. We’re in the 6% territory and this is good news for the talent. Not a lot of credence is lent to how short this career can be. The players can make a lot of money, but they can also be retired in their 20s and 30s. It’s a long way to stretch the career earnings and not everyone is surrounded by “good people”. Congratulations to the league and the players.

In that same link, Friedman is suggesting cutting the draft down to as few as 4 rounds. This would allow more players to hit free agency more quickly instead of having their rights held by teams that may not sign them. His argument is that the later rounds rarely yield many contracts from the drafting team. We’ve talked about drafts and the contested “1 to 3 players is a good draft” philosophy. This was an interesting drop.

Finally, sports in general is in a very different position right now. The WNBA posted a 2 million view contest as Caitlin Clark seems to bring massive numbers. The NBA saw some downturn for the playoffs, and the way we watch and consume all of it varies by a wide margin. We’re in an open era of sports betting and shifting interests. For hockey, I love seeing the speed of a shot in real time (without that swoosh they used to have). Players are tracked in real time and records thought unbreakable may be broken, and broken again.

There is a lot for all of us to sort out on how we get to enjoy and experience hockey. We’ve gone through that ad nauseam. As sports shift around on platforms, it goes to the fan to find ways to follow. Living near Detroit, I miss some of the old CBC broadcasts. The organic feel and visceral determination. With a wide open trade market and so many moving pieces, there’s some hope that next year’s Red Wing’s team will take another step forward. There’s also the reality that a generational talent came in for pennies on the dollar and lifted organization.

As we look to Hockey Christmas in July, I’m going to take a quick breather. We lost a family member almost exactly a year after losing one who was far too young. Take some deep breaths to enjoy the people in your life. Hockey is the greatest sport on earth, but the people we share it with are even more precious.
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