The NHL, as most know, has nullified the contract of star winger Ilya Kovalchuk for circumvention of the salary cap and he has now become an unrestricted free agent and is able to sign anywhere he pleases.
According to sources across the NHL globe the NHL is apparently investigating all other contracts with similar type contracts including the likes of Chris Pronger, Roberto Luongo, Marc Savard, and Marian Hossa to name a few.
Matthew Sekeras of the Globe and Mail reports that arbitrator Richard Bloch dropped the bomb on the Canucks on the possibility of Luongo’s 12-year, $64 million contract could ultimately be voided.
Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com reports that league officials did visit the Flyers in regards to Prongers contract but nothing came up with those discussions. Now with the recent happenings with the Kovalchuk scenario league officials are apparently now re-visiting the contract.
NHL fans and media have attacked the NHL and Gary Bettman in this “re-visiting” of official contracts that have already been signed and approved by the NHL but it clearly states in the CBA that they may do so. Section 26.10 (d): (d) There shall be no limitation of time barring the investigation of a Circumvention by the Commissioner.
In my world, a signed contract is a done deal but apparently not in the National Hockey League and in seeing the above CBA rule it seems there may be a loophole or weakness in the system.
There are many fans that are questioning the future of the NHL with some of these ridiculous contracts, rules changes, and KHL signings. To be fair, the only contract so far that has been nullified is the Kovalchuk contract and really the NHL has not lost a ton of talent or blue collar prospects to the KHL. The rules and ridiculous NHL issues I have touched partially on in a past blog seen here. http://prosportsblogging.com/nhl-hockey/top-10-nhl-annoyances/
Why does the NHL decide to do this now? Are they just making an example of Kovalchuk so the so-called cap geniuses like Lou Lamoriello do not get out of hand and possibly have 2 players per team with these monster contracts paying them until they are 40+ years of age? Do they blame a guy like Charles Wang of the Islanders for starting this all with the Rick Dipietro contract or do we look further back to Alexei Yashin’s 8 year $140 million dollar contract? All in all it it shows that the salary cap implemented in the NHL works but team owners will do the natural human thing to do and try to get around it. In a few years we will see what the NHL players are made of if the KHL all of a sudden offers big time contracts when the NHL can only offer peanuts compared to them. Far fetched perhaps, but the way the NHL is going it’s hard to put a finger on how it will end up in a few years with some holes in the CBA, contracts and a game that seems to be concentrated on gimmickry like the shootout. I won’t lie, if I see the NHL approve a team called the Pennsylvania Purple People Eaters I will void hockey altogether.
Marian Hossa is the only player to have played under one of these new lengthy cap avoiding contracts and I have seen some ridiculous and absurd comments coming from people. One comment was, “If Hossa’s contract is void does his name come off the cup?” Ok buddy, sure, take the name off the cup and actually wipe out the entire season and we will do it all over again ok?
Anyways, let’s say Hossa’s contract is ripped up and he becomes an unrestricted free agent again do the Blackhawks let him walk and get away from his 12-year, $62.8 million contract giving the Hawks even more cap space available and could possibly sign 2-3 more players for that same price. Or do the Hawks reconfigure the contract to keep Hossa and keep him as one of our valuable core players. Before you answer that, remember Hossa is one of the elite players in this league and easily a top 2-way player that works very well with Chicago’s system. Ultimately, if Hossa were to be let go it would make it much easier to hang on to guys like Brent Seabrook who will be looking for a healthy raise after this season and also Troy Brouwer will be another one the Hawks will need to re-sign.
You’re probably thinking I am off the wall speaking of Hossa possibly leaving but with all the happenings lately one can never predict what could happen with the re-visiting of all these lucrative contracts. It’s unlikely but we could see Luongo, Kovalchuk, Hossa, Savard and Pronger all UFA’s prior to the start of this upcoming season. Imagine the frenzy that would create throughout the league with all of those superstar players available for the signing by any team. Crazy.
As an additional note, via capgeek.com Nick Boynton has signed a 1 year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks for 500k per year.
The Hawks defense core is well in tact with Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson, Boynton, Scott, Hendry and a plethora of young defensive talent in the AHL.
That’s just my take,
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )