June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Derrick Pouliot is selected as the number eight overall draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguns after a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Could the NHL void all contracts?


Michael Russo of the Star Tribune wrote a piece on how the NHL could see to void all player contracts if the league decertifies.  The one sentence version: if the NHLPA has been arguing in poor faith and decertifies, the league claims the legal right to void all player contracts.  Of course it would involve lengthy and expensive court battles, but you get the idea.

Who is terrified of this scenario?  Players, of course.  They love their current contracts which assured them a higher percentage of revenue than the new CBA will undoubtedly allow.  Fans too, all those players whose careers they’re emotionally invested in could leave their franchises in a second.  All of those jerseys they’ve bought could instantly become worthless.

The biggest losers if the League voids all NHL contracts, though?  The 30 teams of the NHL.  My best guess would be that you’d see a Miami Heat style collusion effort on the players’ part.  The NHL’s player population is comprised of over 50% Canadians, and you’d have to imagine some of them would want to play closer to home.  Teams in smaller markets with no NHL legacy would cease to operate.  Contraction is immediately put on the table…and we’ve seen that Gary Bettman can’t work with that as an option.

Call the owners’ bluff, NHLPA.

~BB