Agent for Toews, Kane meets with Hawks; NHL still looking into Pronger, Hossa, Luongo deals
Phil Kessel falloutThe Los Angeles Kings were the mystery team that made a late and very serious push to acquire the winger, making an offer that apparently the Bruins thought long and hard about. In the end, however, it's believed they were not ready to pay Kessel the $27 million the Leafs gave him over five years. But good on Kings GM Dean Lombardi for making a push. It shows he believes his window for winning is now beginning to open and he's ready to add some talent, if possible.
Toews and KaneAgent Pat Brisson of CAA Sports quietly traveled to Chicago this week and started preliminary talks with Hawks GM Stan Bowman regarding star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- both restricted free agents at end of the season. The speculation has already started that one or both players would be obvious offer-sheet targets come July should Chicago not have them under contract.
The Hawks will have tough decisions to make -- too many good players, but not enough cap space. Of course, it beats the alternative -- lots of cap space, but not many good players!
NHL still investigating ...Just because you haven't heard much about it lately doesn't mean the NHL has backed off on its objections over the contracts signed by Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger and, more recently, Roberto Luongo.
A source told ESPN.com this weekend that the league is still investigating all three deals. An outside law firm was hired to handle the work, which includes asking for documents, phone records, etc. What the league is looking for is any kind of evidence that the teams and agents in question conspired to purposely circumvent the collective-bargaining agreement. In other words, did they tack on some bogus years with low salaries at the end of those deals in order to bring down the average yearly cap hit?
In my mind, it'll be tough to prove. But the league is doing its due diligence. If there's any proof of wrongdoing, the ultimate penalty would be voiding the contract, although other penalties include large fines (up to $5 million) and potential loss of draft choices. The fly in the ointment for the league is that the NHL Players' Association would object to all of this and the situation would end up in arbitration before anything is done. But again, that's only if the investigations dig up anything.
Here are the breakdowns of all three deals:
2009-10: $10 million
2021-22: $1 (he'll be 43 years old in April of that season)
2016-17: $525,000 (he will be 41 in October of that season)
2020-21: $1M (he will be 42 in January of that season)
NHLPA updateThe union's executive board (30 player reps) reconvenes on a conference call Monday, the first since they fired executive director Paul Kelly late last month in Chicago. "It could get ugly on that call," said one source. Some reps, notably Chris Chelios and Shawn Horcoff, have voiced their concern over how the Kelly firing went down. It should be an interesting conversation.
There's also another conference call Oct. 4. At some point on either call, one expects the reps will also likely discuss what kind of person they should look for when replacing Kelly.
Meanwhile, elections for new player reps have begun; teams have until Oct. 31 to elect their reps. This is significant because Chelios, an unrestricted free agent, will lose his spot on the executive board unless he finds an NHL home very soon and becomes that team's rep. Right now, he's still acting as the Red Wings' rep for another month.