Ottawa-based player agent Larry Kelly is threatening legal action should the NHL revoke the long-term contract his client, Marc Savard signed with the Boston Bruins.
Speaking as a guest on the Team 1200 in Ottawa Thursday morning, Kelly said Savard’s contract was previously reviewed and approved by the NHL.
Furthermore, Kelly said Savard suffered a serious concussion last season that caused him to miss half the season. He did, however, return for the playoffs, but did not play to his usual high standard.
Kelly added it is inconceivable that the league would revoke Savard’s contract after free agent season, which begins annually on July 1, has passed.
"You can imagine the lawsuit that would ensue," Kelly said.
He also added he does not anticipate the NHL revoking the deal.
Savard is one of four players whose contracts are being reviewed by the NHL, even though all four had their deals approved by the league. The others include Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Chris Pronger of the Philadelphia Flyers and Marian Hossa of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. All four are on long-term deals that are front-end loaded, possibly designed to allow them to walk away from the final few years of the contract without a huge financial penalty to the team.
Kelly also suggested the league needs a new type of leadership at the top, suggesting NHL president Gary Bettman doesn’t properly represent the players.
“I’d really like to see a true-commissioner -style , someone who has the best interest of the game in mind rather than the situation they have now,” Kelly said. “Bettman is (more like) the president of the league and he clearly is on the owners side on every issue. I really think it should be a commissioner. With a commissioner you have somebody who is totally independent and I think it would be a much less acrimonious situation.”