Problem is that half the owners want to spend more (aka they sign players to these outlandishly large contracts) and half the owners can't afford to do so. So they are trying to find a way for the league to be competitive. Which is in both the owners and players best interests. No owner wants to get outspent every year and lose fans cause they can't compete. No player wants to get stuck on a team that has no chance of ever winning. It's called structure.
There's already a structure in place to address that problem. It's called the cap system.
btw: it works. Can you imagine Phoenix being competitive in the old days? They made it to the conference finals!
So, by your own argument, doesn't that mean no new contractual limits are needed because the existing ones are working? And how did Phoenix afford anything? Say it with me -- team revenue sharing!
If the NHL truly cared about making the league more competitive, they would focus on revenue sharing to directly
address the needs of their teams rather than claiming to be addressing those needs indirectly
with contractual limits on players. Teams can only spend what they have, and if the money is spread more evenly among the teams they can spend more evenly. You know, competitive structure.
Team revenue sharing is used successfully in other pro leagues because it recognizes the fact that you seem to be ignoring: Some teams are never going to make money on their own. Ever. It doesn't matter if they have a freaking Dream Team. People who do not care will continue to not care regardless of the quality of the thing they don't care about. That's reality.
Surely you see the connection. Teams that have money to buy better talent got money because they have fans. Teams that do not have money to buy better talent don't have money because they don't have fans. Just limiting players will NOT fix that. In fact, it doesn't even address the problem. Taking away their rights to force more big name players into markets without fans and onto teams struggling just to make the bills won't make unprofitable teams profitable and will certainly NEVER make the league more competitive. Rather, the opposite. It will further dilute the talent pool, encourage players to abandon the NHL in favor of European leagues, and probably lower the league's overall revenue generation as teams without fans will remain fan-less regardless of the quality of players they are able to force to play for them while formerly successful teams find their fans becoming less and less interested in a league where every team is a near carbon copy of the others.
There is nothing about "league competitiveness" in forcing players to wait longer to become a UFA than the length of any contract they can sign later will be allowed to be. That does not protect anything other than the selfish interest of owners. But if they could actually bother to care what a fan thinks, I'm sure the NHL would thank you for your gullibility.
Seriously, you should contact me about my land offer!