Is NHL Agent Allan Walsh Looking Out For His Client Or Himself?

Martin Havlat, Minnesota Wild, NHL

Photo: AP

I don’t understand what agents want from teams.Actually, I do understand.

Agents want their clients to get the best payday they can.

Ideally, some probably want their clients to play someplace where they want to play, but that’s not necessarily a requirement.

Martin Havlat is playing for the Minnesota Wild on a $30 million, six-year contract, but that’s not enough for Allan Walsh, Havlat’s agent.

Walsh shared his displeasure with Havlat’s role with the Wild in an e-mail to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

Walsh is a smart guy. He knows Wild coach Todd Richards won’t be bullied into giving Havlat more minutes.

He also knows Havlat’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2015 season. So it’s not like the lack of minutes this season is going to cost Havlat on his next contract. And given that Havlat will be 34 when that contract expires, this could be his last NHL contract anyway.

So what exactly is Walsh’s end game?

I suspect this is just an elaborate ad for his services. He wants players to see he’ll go to the mat for them, challenging coaches and GMs on behalf of his clients.

It’s publicity for Walsh, much like his Twitter account.

And while it’s a great ad for Walsh, you have to wonder if it throws Havlat under the bus in Minnesota.

Will Richards think twice about giving Havlat extra ice time because he doesn’t want to seem like he’s caving to an agent?

Will Richards be reluctant to try Havlat on the first power play unit because he doesn’t want other agents thinking a public e-mail can impact his lines?

Havlat has yet to comment on Walsh’s e-mail. I’m sure he knew about it but I’m not sure he thought through its implications.

Havlat has no goals in his first 10 games. If the Wild really want to be vindictive, they can send him down to the AHL. They’ll be on the hook for his salary, which is a considerable expense, but it would clear a lot of cap space, which the Wild could either use or ignore. But it would also pretty much guarantee Havlat wouldn’t play another NHL game for the rest of the season.

And I’m not sure if Havlat has any kind of no movement clause, but I’m sure Havlat could be moved to a team like the Islanders or Oilers. And I suspect those aren’t destination cities for Havlat.

So yeah. Walsh has created a nice bit of theatre here, but he doesn’t seem to have actually done much for his client.

I’m curious to hear what Walsh hoped to accomplish by publicly confronting the Wild.

And I’m wondering if Havlat is going to have to get through the next five seasons like Tim Robbins in Shawshank.

In fact, maybe the point of the e-mail was so that Havlat can escape the Wild. Someone might want to check his locker for posters and rock hammers.

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