The 15%

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🐧ICYMI: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin took to social media yesterday, announcing our next LIVE conference call which will take place Wednesday, September 4th at 6 p.m. EST.

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✈️ 🚊 🚌 Road Warrior: Goaltender Mike McKenna announced his retirement Tuesday, concluding a career where he played for 15 (!) different professional hockey teams. McKenna played 35 NHL games—15 for the Lightning, 10 for the Senators, four for the Blue Jackets, two each for the Stars and Devils, and one apiece for the Coyotes and Flyers.

💨Hurricane for Life: Goaltender Cam Ward is also calling it quits after signing a one day contract with the Hurricanes where he spent the majority of his career. Ward will always be remembered in Raleigh for leading the Canes to a Stanley Cup victory in 2006 when he became the fourth rookie goaltender ever to win the Conn Smythe Trophy given to the playoff MVP.

☎️Speaking of goaltenders, thanks to everyone who tuned in for our call last night with goalie guru Chris Economou. Can you guess who Chris named as his top three goalies in the NHL? Comment below and keep an eye out for the recording of this call in the next week or so.

The 15% 

(@sanjosesharks) Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been openly critical of the current CBA and the concept of escrow.

What’s Happening: It has been seven years since the last NHL lockout and although it seems like relations are all fine and dandy between the owners and players, there could still be a risk of a future stoppage. Two important dates in the next few weeks will shed some light on what’s to come as it relates to the current collective bargaining agreement. 

This Sunday, September 1st is the deadline for the owners to opt out of the current CBA, which expires in 2022. If they decline this right, the players have until September 15th to decide whether or not to discontinue the agreement—this could lead to a lockout in 2020.

The 15%: The owners seem pleased with the current agreement, and why wouldn’t they? Right now, they are ensured a 50-50 revenue split with the players, who are thus forced to surrender approximately 15% of their salary annually due to a mechanism called escrow. How it works: The percentage, which fluctuates year-to-year, is taken out automatically and when the salary cap increases more quickly than revenues—which it has the last few years—the amount of escrow increases.

And there’s this: The players received 0% of the $1.15 billion the NHL has collected in expansion fees since 2012 because this income is not considered a “hockey-related revenue.”

The Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL in 2017.

The problem for the players is that there are 700 of them, and many eventually get to the point where they just give in due to a desire to get back on the ice. It’s much easier for 31 owners to get on the same page, allowing them to have a more united front.

One solution: The NHL’s U.S. TV deal expires in 2021, and The Athletic’s Sean Gordon thinks a better deal could “goose revenues on the margin to a point where the need for escrow is alleviated, if not entirely obviated.” The current deal brings in just $200 million per year—Gordon estimates this number could double or even triple. Bottom line: The players have reason to complain, but the owners unfortunately hold most of the bargaining chips, meaning the players will likely not opt out come September 15th.

Read why this issue might be leading to more unsigned restricted free agents…

Central Division Sleeper Pick

Joe Pavelski joins the Stars fresh off of a 38 goal season.

What’s Happening: The talk around the Central Division—Blackhawks, Stars, Wild, Blues, Predators, Avalanche, and Jets—is whether or not St. Louis can repeat, and it’s not a crazy thought given their young core group and confident goaltender. Another Central team, however, has made a big push this off season and could challenge the defending champs in what promises to be a stacked division.

You might recall: The Dallas Stars made it to double overtime of the second round before the Blues eliminated them on a goal by Patrick Maroon. Following this devastating loss, Stars general manager Jim Nill bolstered his already strong roster by adding veterans Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry.

Tell Me More: Pavelski might be 35 years old, but he proved he can still bring it last year by scoring 38 goals. The former Sharks captain brings leadership and an elite net front presence on the power play to his new team.

Between the pipes, the Stars should be able to rely on what was the best 1-2 punch in the league last season. Ben Bishop finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting, while Anton Khudobin put up stellar numbers (.923 save percentage, 2.57 goals against average) in 41 appearances.

The Bigger Picture: Watch out for the Stars next season, especially as Miro Heiskanen and Roope Hintz settle in during their second year. More eyes are sure to be on the Stars with the 2020 Winter Classic coming to Dallas, and it seems like they have all the pieces in place to make a splash during the first half of the season.

Dig Deeper: Ryan Lambert, Yahoo Sports Canada

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