While the world awaits the announcement of the NHL’s decision about Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract Friday night, there is still the matter of the investigation into the deals of four other prominent players, including Bruins center Marc Savard, to be dealt with.
It came to light shortly after the NHL rejected the first Kovalchuk deal that the league was also looking into the long-term deals of Savard, Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo and Chris Pronger for any signs of circumvention of the salary cap.
Now, despite the presumptions of some writers that Savard’s absence from a New York Post article meant he was in the clear, it’s obvious that the league is still looking into Savard’s deal. Today on the Team 1200 in Ottawa, Savard’s agent Larry Kelly acknowledged that the investigation is ongoing. And the veteran agent also fired a warning shot toward the league in defense of his client, who would stand to lose a great amount if his contract would be voided.
“We haven’t heard anything from the league. And we feel that our contract is fine, that it complies with the collective bargaining agreement in all respects. It was not rejected on its face. It was registered,” said Kelly. “So I’m not expecting any further problem. If the league were to arbitrarily do something, it would be a very, very serious issue.
“As you’re aware, Marc Savard had a very serious concussion last year. He came back to play in the playoffs to try and help his team and he was not anywhere near the player he had been. And if Marc is without a contract now, and he is a so-called free agent after he has missed the free agent period, you could imagine the lawsuit that would ensue.”
Of course, as I’ve written before, the league doesn’t necessarily have to void the contract even if it finds circumvention. A fine or confiscation of draft picks could ensue.
It’s unclear how the league’s decision on the Kovalchuk matter would impact Savard’s deal and those of the other three players. But judging by Kelly’s comments, it’s unlikely Savard would be cut from the Bruins’ roster — not without a major fight the league probably doesn’t want to have, especially so close to the opening of training camps.
Camp opens Sept. 17, it’s looking pretty solid that Savard will be with Boston at that time.