New York Rangers star forward Artemi Panarin said on Thursday that players should not report to their teams for training camp until the NHL resolves the escrow system.
NHL training camps are scheduled to open on July 10 before the league's planned 24-team format for the Stanley Cup playoffs is set to begin in late July or early August in two hub cities.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, NHL owners and players divide hockey-related revenue equally, and if player salaries exceed that split, a certain percentage is withheld in escrow to make it even.
Players have voiced their concerns with this in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic has made the situation more complicated with speculation of just how much of players' salaries would have to be held in escrow next season.
"For nearly two decades, the players have protected the owners income with escrow, including during the pandemic crisis even as the owners' equity continues to grow exponentially," Panarin said in a statement, posted to his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
"It is time to fix the escrow. We as players cannot report to training camp to resume play without already having agreement in place."
Panarin is the most prominent player to speak out against returning to training camp without a fix to the escrow system.
He signed a seven-year, $81.5million free-agent contract with the Rangers last year and was tied for third in the NHL with 95 points in 69 games when the season was put on hold on March 12.