Decertification would be devastating to any player drafted in 2013. Whether they wanted to or not, they would be drafted by a team in the NHL. I have no idea where else they would play but if they did decide to choose the NHL , they would have to go to that team.
Ignoring the fact that even if the union were decertified the players would have to create a new one as the league can't really operate without a players' union (because I like the play the "what if" game too), I think you are missing the fact that collective bargaining helps the owners as much, if not more, than it does the players.
The draft only exists because the CBA says it does. Without the CBA, the draft not only wouldn't exist, it would become an illegal act of collusion. Instead of a draft, teams would have to go after players as companies go after prospective employees. The best new players would be at the center of a huge bidding war as teams fought for the best players. Teams would be able to get as many, or as few, new players on contract as they wanted.
The player would never be a UFA. They would have no rights. They would get no pension. They would simply be a business partner who gets a lousy salary or nothing. Just like it was before Alan Eagleson and expansion.
Wrong. All players would be more like UFAs from the get go, only without the current restrictions regarding UFAs. They would not be business partners of any kind. Rather, they would be an employee like any other and would have all legal rights accordingly. That means they can work for any company they want and refuse to work for any company they want. Any team can go after any player not currently under contract and do whatever it takes to get the ones they want. The players can make any demands they want during working out the employment contract. (Whether or not they'd get their demands is another matter.) Agents of big name players would have a field day coming up with new demands.
In the end, the salaries would be far more varied, both between teams and players, but neither side would end up winning. Most players would get less so some can get a whole lot more, meaning players as a whole would lose. Owners wanting big name players would have to pay out the nose to get them and would be in direct competition with every other team, leading to even more dramatic bidding wars than we see now. In the end, they could end up spending significantly more on their roster than they do now with rules that keep salaries artificially lowered, specifically the salary cap and 20% of cap single salary limit.
Any illusion of talent parity would be out the window. Rich teams like Toronto who can afford to wipe their butts with the new Canadian $20s despite their remarkable lack of adequate absorption could afford to get any players they want and could theoretically ice four lines of 1st liners. Poor teams would end up icing three lines of 4th liners and a first line made up of leftover 3rd liners.
It's certainly true that the pension is included in the CBA, so that would be out for both existing and retired players. Current players with any kind of bargaining power would look to make up for the lost pension by asking for more pay.
Likewise, many health and safety rules are included in the CBA and would also be out, so players would be at physical risk while teams would open themselves up to lawsuits regarding workplace safety. (Name another workplace that allows employees to be hit as part of their job. Even if players could be said to consent to normal hits associated with the game, they cannot consent to illegal hits and as such would be able to sue, both the team and the player, for any injury resulting.)
The players cant sue for their contracts because they were only payable with a current CBA , and the union cannot disband simply as an end run around Labor laws to force to sue citing they are no longer a union. . There needs to be something the union did against its members totally independent of these negotiations with the owners. Judge would throw it out a negotiation tactic.
I'm actually unclear on the status of contracts without a CBA. Without a court ruling on the matter I don't know that we can know for sure, but I think there are 3 possibilities: 1) all contracts are deemed null and void, meaning all players are immediately free agents without any restrictions whatsoever (so let the hedonistic bidding wars begin), 2) any parts specifically spelled out in the contract are deemed still legally enforceable but not the parts of the CBA referenced in the contract, or 3) all contracts are deemed valid as they were signed, including the relevant parts of the last CBA as those were the conditions agreed to by both sides.
But, of course unionized players can't play without a CBA. Either the union exists and the lockout continues until a CBA is agreed upon, or the union no longer exists and teams are open to being sued by players. You can't have it both ways.
Yes, the union would have to certify that their union is not adequately representing their interests to decertify, but you are simply guessing to assume a judge would not allow them to decertify. Unless they took their case to court, we can't know what the outcome would be.
The owners would allow the players to form a new union anyways as long as its 50/50 and whatever else the current deal on the table is.
Again, the league cannot operate without a players' union. It's fun to pretend and run with the idea and see where it would lead, but it's not reality. In reality, no sports league can operate without a players' union because doing so would be illegal if they wanted to operate in any way in collusion with another team (i.e. salary cap, restricting which teams can go after which players, restricting how much players can make, making any restrictions on players' contracts, etc.)