Lightning Links: How the Bolts can legally get rid of Ryan Malone

While Ryan Malone seeks treatment in the NHL Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program, his days as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning are probably drawing closer to an end.

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Damian Cristodero breaks down what the Lightning’s options are in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and what was once thought to be a murky situation concerning a buyout, Cristodero reports that it is believed that the NHL is OK with buying out a player who is in that program:

That Malone is in the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program run jointly by the league and players association might not matter. Though the collective bargaining agreement does not specifically address the issue, it is believed the NHL’s position is a player in the program can be bought out.

I’m not sure why league officials wouldn’t clarify that or go on the record. You do have to remember that some players can be in the program anonymously and what if a general manager or owner forces a buyout and the league has to say no, but can’t say why they said no. The folks in the front and league offices are all aware of the player’s situation, but what if that were to play out publicly? It’s best the league doesn’t commit on a rule. I’d like to know what the NHLPA thinks about this though. Plus, every player’s substance abuse/mental health situation is different, and Malone’s is mild comparatively.

The report also points out the team could void Malone’s contract under a behavior clause, but if he’s enrolled in the program and the team gives the behavior reason for termination, I’d imagine a grievance would be filed by the NHLPA. The players’ union already filed a grievance this year against the Lightning after Riku Helenius’s contract was terminated, and in that case the reason why was never public, though assumed for failing to report.

I wonder how much of a toll this is taking on his father, Greg Malone, who is a scout with the Lightning, in both professional and personal situations. I don’t blame him if he decides to resign to follow through with Ryan’s situation or just to move somewhere else to leave behind a place where your son’s career diminished, was arrested and potentially, bought out.

And the other light serving of links:

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