The NHL & NHLPA help Kings regain Voynov’s salary cap hit, while the defenseman could face lengthy prison time and deportation
Now what becomes of his domestic abuse case? His employment with the Kings? His career in the NHL? His deportation from the United States?
Voynov (left) being placed on IR releases his $4.16 million cap hit so the Kings can sign a replacement or call-up a player from the minors. The Kings already dressed a player down once (an away game against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 28), so this decision allows for breathing room on a salary cap that was about $500,000 away from being maxed at the start.
Voynov has been charged with felony domestic violence. He could face anywhere from four to nine years in state jail if convicted. His wife is not cooperating in the prosecutors’ case but she could be subpoena’d if necessary.
More importantly, Voynov could be deported if he is convicted of a “crime of moral turpitude”. The term is under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a federal U.S. law that includes domestic violence along with larceny and/or fraud. (Forbes)
What might become of Voynov’s immigration status, regardless of a felony/misdemeanor conviction, or if he cuts a deal, remains murky. The only way this truly works out in his favor is if he is found not guilty.
A felony conviction will change his immigration status, could end his NHL career and probably forces him to go back to Russia. A misdemeanor conviction could affect his ability to travel to Canada for away games, but at least allow him to stay in the U.S. and play in the NHL.
Gary Bettman (right) and the league office surely does not want this to turn into the circus that surrounded NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Ray Rice.
Therefore, the NHL could suspend Voynov for additional games, on top of the ones already served, if league, sponsor, media and most importantly, public pressure demands it.
The Kings have the most to lose, aside from Voynov himself, if this case ends with a contentious result.
Voynov is a great talent and a player that was a defensive key to their last two Stanley Cups. Surely they’d like to keep him on the roster if his eligibility is reinstated, however, they must closely monitor their fan base to decide whether to trade, waive or outright cut Voynov if called upon to do so.
The sponsors go where the fans go (the LA Clippers found that out the hard way last year). If the Kings faithful open their arms to Voynov, then the organization can move forward with him in the fold.
But if fans scream for his ouster, the Kings could be looking to move a championship talent for social pariah prices.
The Kings received Voynov’s cap space back and his arraignment is set for December 1. No one really knows what will happen after that, but considering what the NFL has been through this season, expect much scrutiny and debating to follow.