The NHL story of the summer has finally come to an end. Ilya Kovalchuk has signed a deal with the New Jersey Devils (for the second time this summer). And unlike the first contract, this $ 100 million, 15 year deal has been approved by the NHL. Now he can finally put the contract negotiations behind him and get prepared for the Devil’s first game against the Dallas Stars.
The first Kovalchuk deal with the NJ Devils was not approved by the NHL on grounds that it deliberately circumvented the league’s salary cap. It was a 17 year $ 102 million contract, with Kovalchuk receiving just under 80 percent ($ 80 million) in the first 7 years. In the new deal Kovalchuk will be paid $ 93 million up until the 2023-2024 season. Though the differences in amount between the two contracts may seem small in perspective, the major difference will by felt in the New Jersey Devils salary cap.
The NHL has made two key changes for long term contracts in response to the first Kovalchuk deal that will have ramifications throughout the league.
In NHL news, now that the Kovalchuk saga is behind us, expect to see more big name players signing deals before the start of the season. Numerous teams froze contract negotiations with key players until the Kovalchuk deal, enough to coin the term “the Kovalchuk effect.”
This author would not be surprised to see the agents of players such as Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks back at the negotiating table and coming out with contracts in the near future.
In the meantime, Ilya Kovalchuk has a lot on his shoulders. A $ 100 million, 15 year deal is a lot for a player that has never won a playoff series in his 8 year NHL career.
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