As of approximately 6:49 a.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2013, the NHL and NHLPA have come to terms with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will last for the next 10 seasons. This is fantastic news since it means that the lockout is finally over and the NHL avoids having to lose another season, but things aren't completely set in stone yet. the NHL owners and members of the Player's Association still need to confirm the deal before everything is final but the fact that they have come to terms on a deal is a very good sign. The two sides also need to set a start date for the season and you can expect it to be no later than January 19th according to TSN. It also hasn't been determined how many games will be played this season but the details of that should be revealed very shortly.
The new CBA has the salary cap for next year set at $64.3 million with a floor of $44 million, which was higher than the NHL's original request of having it at only $60 mil. Teams will also be allowed two amnesty buyout starting this off-season and there is a good chance we could see a few of those happen after the spending sprees many teams went on the last couple of years. This probably won't affect the Hurricanes too much since they will have $12.3 mil. to spend on 5-6 players and appear to be in decent shape cap-wise for now.
A few other features of this CBA is that free agent can only be signed to a max of seven years and eight years if they re-sign with their current team, so deals like the ones given to Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Ilya Bryzgalov will not happen under this CBA. It should also be noted that the bottom-14 teams in the league will be eligible for the draft lottery and have a chance at landing the first overall pick, which was probably put in place to prevent teams from tanking during a bad season. The Hurricanes were in that boat for a good part of last year before Kirk Muller arrived, so that is familiar territory. Other details on the CBA can be found on TSN's web site and will be updated as they are revealed in the next few hours.
Now that we know there will be a season, it is time to start thinking about what the Hurricanes roster will look like and which players from Charlotte will end up making the final cuts. Teams are expected to begin training camps sometime within the next week ro so and I'm sure the Hurricanes' camp with Muller's staff will be very unpredictable since the Charlotte Checkers have at least three players having great seasons and are on the brink of being ready for NHL competition. Virtually anything can happen in a shortened training camp, so seeing which one of the kids from Charlotte makes the team will be fun to watch.
All in all, it is great that this mess is finally over and NHL fans can now revert their focus back to hockey. It's going to be a pretty wild year.