Both sides are only interested in being exploitive. The big difference is that players get days of airtime celebrating and analyzing free agency which is when they are exploiting while ownerships only real chance to play hardball is in CBA negotiations.
The second one is a very good point. But I don't agree that both sides are only interested in being exploitive. There are many players on two way contracts, many who will have short terms in the NHL because they are borderline (doesn't mean they work any less hard), and there are many players who take a hometown discount to stay with a team. There ARE some exploitive free agents, and that's why I said that I support the goals of trying to control contracts, terms, salary levels, etc. But I don't support negotiating free agent contracts disingenuously then trying to claw them back right away during CBA negotiations. Many players (especially those who are the infantry of the league) have very limited windows where they can make money in this profession. I don't see them being exploitive at all.