“He’ll never be fired,’’ said the agent. “But in a year or two, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shift to another job in the front office — some advisory role, or Commissioner Emeritus, or whatever.’’
Bill Daly, the league’s deputy commissioner and Bettman’s top lieutenant, is the obvious choice as successor, said the agent. A team executive, while unwilling to agree that a third lockout would lead to Bettman being moved off the job, said Daly would be the likely choice and prohibitive favorite as the next commissioner.
“Gary’s 60 years old, and this is at least an eight-year CBA,’’ said the team executive. “I doubt he’s going to be doing this at age 70. So, sure, I could see a change coming in a few years. Daly’s in his late 40s, very bright and highly respected. He’d be the guy, someone who could carry it the next 15 years.’’
The Board of Governors, led by Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs, meets Wednesday in New York and will vote on the new deal. Bettman will be front and center to explain all the deal’s ins and outs, what he gained, what he left on the table.
“Not everyone is happy,’’ said a league source. “There will be guys in there not happy about the revenue sharing, others who think the cap is too high to start, that it takes too long to get to 50/50. Some are angry over the fact that there are compliance buyouts. I think there will be many angry objections, but I also think it will pass. It’s done . . . we’re moving on.’’