I understand that if it was a strike the players wouldn’t get paid. But here, the players are willing to play - and they have contracts stating that they will get paid $X for playing for team Y. Since the players want to play, are the teams in violation of the contracts if they don’t pay the players?
No. Not from the NHL anyway. The union has a “lockout fund” ($40 million I think?) that is to be used in the same way as strike pay.
Their “willingness” is a moot point. You could just as easily say the owners are “willing” to have players play, if they’ll sign onto their CBA offers -which they won’t.
The players are not being paid by the NHL with one exception. After some deliberation the owners decided to pay the few players that had catostrophic injuries last year and are still disabled. There is no CBA and as I understand it all player contracts are tied into the CBA which makes them moot until there is a CBA.
Any player listed as injured prior to the lockout will receive their contracted salary (although it may come from insurance). Other players receive money from the union, up to $10,000 per month during the course of the lockout.
I should add that players that are injured proceed with their rehab as though the season was playing and get checked by a team doctor regularly. Once the doc clears them to play, they stop receiving contract pay and start receiving money from the union.
I believe there are a few superstar types with “personal service” contracts separate from the standard CBA contract, which include guaranteed payout. They would be paid under that contract.
But for the average journeyman player, once the CBA expired, all the contracts are also expired unless both sides were to agree to a CBA extension, renewal, or a new CBA is signed.
Actually, I don’t think that the contracts have expired, they are just not in force (is that the correct term?). If the new CBA was finalized today, many players would be under their current contracts - there could be some changes like a paycut (the players did offer across the board pay cuts of up to 24% in one of their offers) that could modify the original agreement.
Things may have changed in the last 10 years but Pavel Bure tried to have something like that included in his contract prior to the last lockout and the NHL rejected it.
Individual player’s contracts have not all expired* though the CBA (which is a contract of sorts) has.
*Many teams did manage to time a lot of players contracts to end this season anticipating a lockout, so a lot of player contracts are in fact expired -but not cause the CBA ran out.