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NHL apparently gives approval to Chris Pronger's seven-year contract extension

Sep 2, 2010, 11:44 AM EST

prongerflyers.jpgWhile we’re here today splitting hairs over whether or not we consider the differences between “ultimatum” and “negotiation” regarding the situation between the NHL and NHLPA over the Ilya Kovalchuk situation, the originator of the report, Larry Brooks of the New York Post, hits us with some new information.

While the NHL rounded up a group of players in the wake of winning the grievance case with the NHLPA over Kovalchuk’s first 17-year, $102 million offer with New Jersey, Brooks finds out that one of the players hand-picked by the NHL to look over their contract even further has been given the full approval of the NHL.

The league has informed the union that it has accepted Chris Pronger’s year-old, front-loaded, seven-year, $34.45 million contract with Ed Snider’s Flyers under which the defenseman will earn $1.05 million over the final two years of the deal.

The status of Marc Savard’s year-old, seven-year, $28.05 million contract with Jeremy Jacobs’ Bruins under which the center will earn $2.55 million over the final three years, is unclear.

If that proves to be true, we can cross Pronger off the list. We can also throw some fuel on to some conspiracy theories as Flyers owner Ed Snider is a long-time league loyalist. Seeing Pronger’s contract get the blessing of the NHL also muddies up some cases centering around age at the end of contracts.

Meanwhile, Marc Savard’s agent Larry Kelly says he’ll sue the league if they void his client’s contract. Kelly also went on the offensive against commissioner Gary Bettman.

“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.”

Stern words for sure. Meanwhile, as for Pronger, his seven-year extension with the Flyers goes until he’s 42 years-old and considering that age was a sticking point in Kovalchuk’s first offer, this just raises more questions about the consistencies of the NHL as well as questions about potential favoritism being given to a guy like Snider and his team.

Then again, the Flyers also thought that Pronger’s deal wouldn’t have counted as a 35+ contract, which it does. Obviously the Flyers attempted to get by the cap with the deal structure but the rules of the CBA spank them regardless. This is a lot of fun to talk about. By the end of all this, we’ll all be full-fledged conspiracy theorists, let’s just hope no one goes full-on Mel Gibson once everything is settled.

  1. Jay - Sep 2, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Snider’s loyalties aside, could this also be due to the fact that Pronger’s contract will not come off the cap if he retires? A 35+ contract has different rules, so while the organization won’t be paying Pronger if he decides to retire before his contract is over his cap hit will still count against the team. Therefore, the Flyers (try as they might) didn’t circumvent the salary cap with this contract.

  2. Russ - Sep 2, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    That is very true. The issue isn’t length of contract, or age in which the player would retire. Those are minor points. The big issue is circumventing the salary cap if such a player would decide to retire early. In Pronger’s case, if he selects to retire early, it would hurt the team’s cap, and not help it.

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