BOSTON – The National Hockey League’s investigation of four registered contracts was in full force before arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled in favour of the league’s decision to reject Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year deal with New Jersey.
The Boston Bruins released a statement Tuesday saying the league has been examining Marc Savard’s US$28-million, seven-year extension since it was signed on Dec. 1.
“The league informed us upon their registration of the contract … that they would be investigating the circumstances surrounding this contract,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said in a release. “From that point on, they commenced their investigation and it has been ongoing since then. On August 4, I met with two league appointed lawyers as part of the investigation.
“We will continue to co-operate with the league in any future investigative proceedings if necessary.”
Savard’s deal was one of four mentioned in Bloch’s ruling Monday that could be struck down by the NHL. The others belong to Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger and Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa.
All four long-term deals will take the players into their 40s and feature salaries which drop sharply in the later years of the agreement, reducing the overall salary cap hit.
In siding with the NHL on its decision not to approve Kovalchuk’s deal because it circumvented the cap, Bloch mentioned the contracts belonging to Savard, Luongo, Pronger and Hossa.
“While the contracts have, in fact, been registered, their structure has not escaped league notice: those (contracts) are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration,” Bloch wrote.
Meanwhile, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said the team will continue working to re-sign Kovalchuk.
“We want Ilya to be a Devil,” Lamoriello said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “We will do everything possible to achieve that.”