NHL Wrapup: The state of the offseason

NHL Hot Stove Editor Brandon Macdonald takes a look in to the news and events that have taken place during the 2010 NHL offseason.

With the start of the NHL season approaching, yes fans time hasn’t frozen, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding the league. Questions ranging from the state of the NHLPA and of course the contract controversies.

In the NHL version of Let’s Make a Deal, the New Jersey Devils and the NHL have gone back and forth on the Ilya Kovalchuk contract dispute. If you have been under a rock for the past few months, the NHL rejected the original deal that would have seen the Russian sniper in a Devils sweater for the next 17 years. It is rumored that there is now a deal in place that has been approved by all involved camps and is expected to be a 15-year contract that will pay him around $100 million.

The NBA had The Decision, the NHL has Kovy-Gate.

After years of turmoil it seems that the NHLPA is looking for stability in the role of Donald Fehr. Fehr, who served as the head of MLBPA for 26 years, brings a lot of knowledge to the table and will not be pushed around. Although the deal has not gone through yet, he needs to be approved by a panel of players; it seems to be inevitable he will be leading the NHLPA in to their next CBA discussions.

The Kovalchuk contract being denied left a bad taste in many players’ mouth and adding Fehr would bring no-guff attitude to the players association.

Contracts really have been the talk of the NHL’s offseason and it hasn’t been about the new contracts signed. The NHL decided it should look in to the contracts that were previously signed, and approved, that were similar to the one signed by Kovalchuk.

Players like Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo and Chris Pronger are having their contracts looked in to. It would be an unprecedented turn of events if the NHL were to void the already approved contracts. Not only causing an uproar with the players and teams, but also the fans and media. Whether or not the contracts will be dealt with, a decision should be made clear before pre-season begins.

It’s also worth mentioning, talking about contracts, that former Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was fired by the team in February is still under the contract with the team and Columbus mentioned that they will have work for him to do, in other capacities.

Looking at the Phoenix Coyotes, it seems that a new mystery buyer has stepped in and is showing interest in the team. The Phoenix Business Journal is reporting that an undisclosed wealthy buyer is leading a group and is interested in buying the team that the league has owned since last season. The identity of the buyer may not have been revealed, but ‘Yotes fans can rest assured that his name doesn’t end with sillie.

Time is ticking down to the regular season and although it has seemingly taken forever, hockey is on the horizon. Fantasy teams are being drafted and the big question is, who do you take first overall. I want to know whom you, the NHL Hot Stove readers, think is the consensus number one overall fantasy selection. Do you go with the goal scoring Alex Ovechkin or Canada’s golden boy Sidney Crosby? Or do you go with the reigning scoring champ Henrik Sedin? Send me an email or send me a message on Twitter with you would choose first overall and why.

Till next time, keep your stick on the ice.

Brandon Macdonald
NHLHS Editor
Twitter @bMacdonald8