SUN Hockey Pool

NHL won't 'rip up' other contracts: Agent

Will the investigation into several NHL contracts, including Roberto Luongo's, change anything?...

Will the investigation into several NHL contracts, including Roberto Luongo's, change anything? (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:06 PM ET

Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger, Roberto Luongo and Marc Savard have little to worry about when it comes to their contracts.

NHL investigations into their front-end loaded deals -- thrust into the limelight after Ilya Kovalchuk's contract was struck down -- are going nowhere fast.

While team officials from Chicago, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Boston are all co-operating with the investigations, league sources said Tuesday nobody expects any action to be taken -- despite the fact the league has been looking into some of these contracts for a year.

Eyebrows were raised when arbitrator Richard Bloch mentioned the deals Monday while striking down Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102-million US contract with the New Jersey Devils. He pointed out all the contracts involved are structured similarly.

A high-profile agent said he doesn't believe the NHL would kill any of those deals or even attempt to.

Of the contracts, only Hossa has received any money so far. The rest kick in next season. If they were rejected, the players could become unrestricted free agents -- a highly unlikely scenario.

"The NHL isn't going to do anything with these deals. Nothing is going to happen," said the agent. "They've been trying to investigate most of these deals for a year."

"I can tell you they certainly aren't going to rip up a contract that has already been signed and approved by the league. That's the difference: The deal that Kovalchuk signed was never approved by the league. The rest of these deals passed the smell test."

Kovalchuk is expected to restructure his deal and sign with the Devils anyway.

Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said he was informed of the investigation after Savard signed his seven-year, $28.05-million extension in December 2009 and met with league officials last week.

"We are co-operating fully with the league in its investigation of the Marc Savard contract extension. The league informed us upon their registration of the contract on December 1, 2009 that they would be investigating the circumstances surrounding this contract," Chiarelli said in a statement.

"They commenced their investigation and it has been ongoing since then. On August 4th, I met with two league-appointed lawyers ... We will continue to co-operate with the league in any future investigative proceedings."

Philadelphia Flyers president Peter Luukko told CSNPhilly.com he considers the matter closed with Pronger, who signed a seven-year, $34.5-million extension.

"The contract with Chris Pronger that we registered with the National Hockey League is one we certainly feel was a compliant contract," Luukko told the website. "The Pronger contract is structured differently than the Kovalchuk contract. And it's been in effect well over a year."

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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