Things the NHL can learn from MLB

    Hockey is the greatest sport in the world, but that doesn’t meant the way the league is run can’t be improved.  Like all matters of life, there is knowledge to be gained by learning from your rivals/competitors.  In this series of articles I will be discussing things the NHL can learn from the other major sports leagues in America.  The premise behind these articles will be that sports are supposed to be fun, and other leagues do things that add to the enjoyment of following the league.  The NHL should consider ways to improve their product by making it more fun. First, let’s look at something the MLB does far better than the NHL: the Luxury Tax.

As most of you are likely aware, the most recent CBA in the NHL had a hard salary cap, with exceptions only permitted due to long term injury to a player. This system is designed to increase parity in the league by putting everyone on a substantially similar payroll regardless of market size.  The owners like this because of “cost certainty,”  the players are okay with it because if you’re going to have a salary cap, then you’re going to have a salary floor which guarantees a minimum amount of money spent on player salaries by every team, and the fans like this because the majority of fans are in smaller markets and don’t want to see the New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs of the world buy championships outspend them for marquee free agents.

Teams should be able to keep together their core: it’s better for their fans, it’s better for TV, it’s better for the league, and it’s better for the players.  TV money is the golden goose of major league sports, so anything that can be done to captivate audiences is better for the sport, and dominant teams are good for TV ratings. Pittsburgh should be allowed to keep Crosby and Malkin and put good players around them, just as Edmonton should be able to keep all of their young forwards while building a team around them if they can afford it.  The Flyers shouldn’t have to keep trading away top end forwards for picks and prospects every few years in order to stay under the salary cap.  It’s just more fair to the fans, to organizations that have been run well, organizations that have been run poorly and thus have a bevy of young talent, and fans of both.

In the MLB there is a luxury tax, which is like a “soft cap” because teams can spend above the tax threshold, only for every dollar they spend over the threshold they must put an additional percentage into revenue sharing.  Obviously this limits spending to some degree, but it also allows clubs the opportunity to pick up an expiring contract at the deadline or to spend more to keep a corps of players together.  This is better for the fans of contending teams because they are able to keep the team together if they are willing to spend, and then by paying the tax dollars the teams in the lower tier of revenues would gain money to further improve their teams.  Unlike a salary cap and forced revenue sharing, teams have a choice on how much they spend on players.  While there would still need to be some sort of revenue sharing in exchange for a salary floor, eliminating the salary cap would be better. 

 

2 thoughts on “Things the NHL can learn from MLB

  1. Luxury tax is great if you want the nhl to have the same 5 legitimate contending teams year in and year out, a rotating handful of teams that might have a small window of opportunity before their best player(a) hit free agency and about 20 farm teams supplying the top end with all of their talent through free agency. Luxury tax will ruin team parity. What the nhl really needs is hard cap with a solid revenue sharing model. Trying to shoehorn revenue sharing into the nhl via luxury tax wouldn’t work like MLB anyways because the whole revenue sharing system they seem to have is predicated around a handful of teams having such a monster income they can support the rest of the league. The nhl had only one such franchise in Toronto.

  2. I worked up a quick list and I went back to the 2000-01 seaosn. Here’s the list but it requires a little bit of explanation:1) Read the information under each team in the following order (GP % W L T OTL GF GA PTS SEED GP W L GF GA) keeping in mind that the last 5 figures represent the playoff performance of each team.2) The New York Islanders are the only team to have made this list after the lockout seaosn, therefore their numbers will be one less than that of the others because the NHL used to indicate W L T OTL.3) The winning percentage was derived by dividing wins by games played.2000-01 San Jose Sharks82 .487 40 27 12 3 217 192 95 5 6 2 4 11 162001-02 Montreal Canadiens82 .439 36 31 12 3 207 209 87 8 12 6 6 32 392001-02 Ottawa Senators82 .475 39 27 9 7 243 208 94 7 12 7 5 29 182001-02 Phoenix Coyotes82 .487 40 27 9 6 228 210 95 6 5 1 4 7 132001-02 Los Angeles Kings82 .487 40 27 11 4 214 190 95 7 7 3 4 13 162002-03 Washington Capitals82 .475 39 29 8 6 224 220 92 6 6 2 4 15 142002-03 Anaheim Mighty Ducks82 .487 40 27 9 6 203 193 95 7 21 15 6 45 402003-04 New York Islanders82 .463 38 29 11 4 237 210 91 8 5 1 4 5 122003-04 Nashville Predators82 .463 38 29 11 4 216 217 91 8 6 2 4 9 122003-04 St. Louis Blues82 .475 39 30 11 2 191 198 91 7 5 1 4 9 122003-04 Philadelphia Flyers82 .487 40 21 15 6 229 186 101 3 18 11 7 50 432003-04 Colorado Avalanche82 .487 40 22 13 7 236 198 100 4 11 6 5 26 242006-07 New York Islanders82 .487 40 30 12 248 240 92 8 5 1 4 11 17You’ve got me motivated to finish the spread. If you leave this question open for another day, I’ll have a much more comprehensive list that goes back to 1926-27, the year the NHL had sole proprietorship of the Stanley Cup.As promised, here’s the better list:GP PCT W L OL GF GA PT SD GP W L GF GA2006-07 New York Islanders82 .487 40 30 12 248 240 92 8 5 1 4 11 17GP PCT W L T OTL GF GA PT SD GP W L GF GA2003-04 Philadelphia Flyers82 .487 40 21 15 6 229 186 101 3 18 11 7 50 432003-04 Colorado Avalanche82 .487 40 22 13 7 236 198 100 4 11 6 5 26 242003-04 St. Louis Blues82 .475 39 30 11 2 191 198 91 7 5 1 4 9 122003-04 Nashville Predators82 .463 38 29 11 4 216 217 91 8 6 2 4 9 122003-04 New York Islanders82 .463 38 29 11 4 237 210 91 8 5 1 4 5 122002-03 Anaheim Mighty Ducks82 .487 40 27 9 6 203 193 95 7 21 15 6 45 402002-03 Tampa Bay Lightning82 .439 36 25 16 5 219 210 93 3 11 5 6 22 292002-03 Washington Capitals82 .475 39 29 8 6 224 220 92 6 6 2 4 15 142002-03 Edmonton Oilers82 .439 36 26 11 9 231 230 92 8 6 2 4 11 202002-03 Boston Bruins82 .439 36 31 11 4 245 237 87 7 5 1 4 8 132002-03 New York Islanders82 .426 35 34 11 2 224 231 83 8 5 1 4 7 132001-02 Phoenix Coyotes82 .487 40 27 9 6 228 210 95 6 5 1 4 7 132001-02 Los Angeles Kings82 .487 40 27 11 4 214 190 95 7 7 3 4 13 162001-02 Ottawa Senators82 .475 39 27 9 7 243 208 94 7 12 7 5 29 182001-02 Carolina Hurricanes82 .426 35 26 16 5 217 217 91 3 23 13 10 47 432001-02 Montreal Canadiens82 .439 36 31 12 3 207 209 87 8 12 6 6 32 392000-01 San Jose Sharks82 .487 40 27 12 3 217 192 95 5 6 2 4 11 162000-01 Edmonton Oilers82 .475 39 28 12 3 243 222 93 6 6 2 4 13 162000-01 Los Angeles Kings82 .463 38 28 13 3 252 228 92 7 13 7 6 25 342000-01 Toronto Maple Leafs82 .451 37 29 11 5 232 207 90 7 11 7 4 28 242000-01 Vancouver Canucks82 .439 36 28 11 7 239 238 90 8 4 0 4 9 162000-01 Carolina Hurricanes82 .463 38 32 9 3 212 225 88 8 6 2 4 8 20GP PCT W L T RT GF GA PT SD GP W L GF GA1999-00 Los Angeles Kings82 .475 39 27 12 4 245 228 94 5 4 0 4 6 151999-00 Phoenix Coyotes82 .475 39 31 8 4 232 228 90 6 5 1 4 10 171999-00 Pittsburgh Penguins82 .451 37 31 8 6 241 236 88 7 11 6 5 31 231999-00 Edmonton Oilers82 .390 32 26 16 8 226 212 88 7 5 1 4 11 141999-00 San Jose Sharks82 .426 35 30 10 7 225 214 87 8 12 5 7 27 371999-00 Buffalo Sabres82 .426 35 32 11 4 213 204 85 8 5 1 4 8 14GP PCT W L T GF GA PT SD GP W L GF GA1998-99 Philadelphia Flyers82 .451 37 26 19 231 196 93 5 6 2 4 11 91998-99 Boston Bruins82 .475 39 30 13 214 181 91 6 12 6 6 30 271998-99 Buffalo Sabres82 .451 37 28 17 207 175 91 7 21 14 7 59 491998-99 Phoenix Coyotes82 .475 39 31 12 205 197 90 4 7 3 4 16 191998-99 Pittsburgh Penguins82 .463 38 30 14 242 225 90 8 13 6 7 35 361998-99 St. Louis Blues82 .451 37 32 13 237 209 87 5 13 6 7 31 331998-99 Carolina Hurricanes82 .414 34 30 18 210 202 86 3 6 2 4 10 161998-99 Anaheim Mighty Ducks82 .426 35 34 13 215 206 83 6 4 0 4 6 171998-99 San Jose Sharks82 .402 33 31 18 197 191 80 7 6 2 4 17 191998-99 Edmonton Oilers82 .402 33 37 12 230 226 78 8 4 0 4 7 111997-98 Pittsburgh Penguins82 .487 40 24 18 228 188 98 5 6 2 4 15 181997-98 Colorado Avalanche82 .475 39 26 17 231 205 95 7 7 3 4 16 191997-98 Washington Capitals82 .487 40 30 12 219 202 92 8 21 12 9 53 441997-98 Boston Bruins82 .475 39 30 13 221 194 91 9 6 2 4 13 151997-98 Buffalo Sabres82 .439 36 29 17 211 187 89 10 15 10 5 46 321997-98 Los Angeles Kings82 .463 38 33 11 227 225 87 11 4 0 4 8 161997-98 Montreal Canadiens82 .451 37 32 13 235 208 87 12 10 4 6 28 321997-98 Ottawa Senators82 .414 34 33 15 193 200 83 13 11 5 6 20 301997-98 Phoenix Coyotes82 .426 35 35 12 224 227 82 14 6 2 4 18 241997-98 Edmonton Oilers82 .426 35 37 10 215 224 80 15 12 5 7 24 251997-98 San Jose Sharks82 .414 34 38 10 210 216 78 16 6 2 4 12 161996-97 Detroit Red Wings82 .463 38 26 18 253 197 94 5 20 16 4 58 381996-97 Buffalo Sabres82 .487 40 30 12 237 208 92 6 12 5 7 27 341996-97 Florida Panthers82 .426 35 28 19 221 201 89 7 5 1 4 10 131996-97 New York Rangers82 .463 38 34 10 258 231 86 8 15 9 6 36 351996-97 Anaheim Mighty Ducks82 .439 36 33 13 245 233 85 9 11 4 7 25 301996-97 Pittsburgh Penguins82 .463 38 36 8 285 280 84 10 5 1 4 13 201996-97 Phoenix Coyotes82 .463 38 37 7 240 243 83 11 7 3 4 17 171996-97 St. Louis Blues82 .439 36 35 11 236 239 83 12 6 2 4 12 131996-97 Edmonton Oilers82 .439 36 37 9 252 247 81 13 12 5 7 32 371996-97 Chicago Blackhawks82 .414 34 35 13 223 210 81 14 6 2 4 14 281996-97 Ottawa Senators82 .378 31 36 15 226 234 77 15 7 3 4 13 141996-97 Montreal Canadiens82 .378 31 36 15 249 276 77 16 5 1 4 11 221995-96 Chicago Blackhawks82 .487 40 28 14 273 220 94 6 10 6 4 30 281995-96 Boston Bruins82 .487 40 31 11 282 269 91 8 5 1 4 16 221995-96 Montreal Canadiens82 .487 40 32 10 265 248 90 9 6 2 4 17 191995-96 Washington Capitals82 .475 39 32 11 234 204 89 10 6 2 4 17 211995-96 Tampa Bay Lightning82 .463 38 32 12 238 248 88 11 6 2 4 13 261995-96 Toronto Maple Leafs82 .414 34 36 12 247 252 80 12 6 2 4 15 211995-96 St. Louis Blues82 .390 32 34 16 219 248 80 13 13 7 6 37 371995-96 Calgary Flames82 .414 34 37 11 241 240 79 14 4 0 4 7 161995-96 Vancouver Canucks82 .390 32 35 15 278 278 79 15 6 2 4 17 241995-96 Winnipeg Jets82 .439 36 40 6 275 291 78 16 6 2 4 10 201994-95 New Jersey Devils48 .458 22 18 8 136 121 52 9 20 16 4 67 341994-95 Washington Capitals48 .458 22 18 8 1

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