The NHL announced Wednesday that Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils circumvents the salary cap and therefore will not be allowed. The contract would pay Kovalchuk $98.5 million throughout its first 11 years and only $550,000 per year each year after that. Anyone see how that could present a problem?
If Kovalchuk and the Devils really believed that he would play out the last five years of his contract, there’s no way he’d take a pay cut like that. It’s all about the money. You make as much as you can for as long as you can. If he really believed he would still be playing at age 44, he wouldn’t settle for $550,000 a year. The NHL is right to call shenanigans on this one. We all know they’ve messed up in the past. I love Marian Hossa, but do you really think he’s going to play out the length of his contract? I doubt it.
It’s about time the NHL made it a point to shoot down one of these ridiculous deals. What’s the point of having a salary cap if they aren’t going to enforce it? The Devils could say the reason Kovalchuk’s contract is so front-loaded is that he’s bound to be more effective in the early years, when he’s making $11.5 million per season. If that’s the case, why bother signing him to such a lengthy deal? I understand wanting to hold on to your best player for as long as you can, but the Devils need to adhere to the rules of the cap. They’re in place for a reason.
NHL Rejects Kovalchuck Deal [ESPN New York]