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Blog Entry

Piling on

Posted on: September 14, 2010 10:08 am

Talk about a hidden cost. Not only did the New Jersey Devils end up paying Ilya Kovalchuk more than they planned, they were pinched for another $3 million by the NHL for the effort.

Mind you it could have been worse had the league decided to reduce New Jersey’s cap space by the fine’s amount as well. The NHL had that option once the arbitrator ruled New Jersey’s original, 17-year, $102 million deal with Kovalchuk was a sham, and it would have really hurt the Devils who had cap problems even before reworking the deal.

Right now, New Jersey is about $3 million over the cap ceiling and has until opening night to become compliant. Thing is the Devils are still two players short of the roster minimum, so they caught a break in a way with the money part of their punishment. Good accountants will find a way to deduct it.

But the additional loss of a first-round pick and a third-round pick is a real cost to the organization that likes to build through the draft, although you might argue that allowing New Jersey to choose which of the next four years to give up that first-round pick is a bit of break too. The Devils could win a Stanley Cup in that time and the champs’ choice is always the last of the draft’s first round.

Even so it was a serious reprimand on the whole and not entirely unprecedented, but it was assessed despite the league guiding and approving the new Kovalchuk deal. That on its own increased the player’s annual cap to the Devils hit by 10 percent.  Still the league wanted and probably had to send a message in this case, but it already did by rejecting the initial deal and threatening to re-examine a few similarly-structured contracts given out in the last few years to star players.

None was as blatant of course as New Jersey’s effort to have Kovalchuk signed until he was 44 years old, but by throwing the threat into the mix against a leaderless NHL players’ association, the league extracted big concessions from the union in the form mid-stream changes to the CBA with respect to long-term contracts. It’s no secret those ‘lifetime’ contracts are detestable to head office in Manhattan, and with new stricter guidelines in place, it gives the league much more to work with when bargaining for a new CBA begins.

So the league already won a very key battle in this drawn-out affair. Kovalchuk’s new deal was costlier to New Jersey and ultimately tolerable to the league, and instead of creating legal nightmares by nullifying previously accepted deals, the NHL could hold its nose and still save face by allowing the others to stand but preventing similar ones from being written before the CBA expires in 2012.

But there’s no penalty for piling on in hockey.

other deals that would This CBA expires in 2012 and the NHL wants givebacks. hat’s about a year awayBut the league will be very likely be lined up against Donald Fehr in those negotiations. His recommendation by the union’s executive committee last Saturday effectively guaranteed his presence.


Category: NHL

Since: Sep 4, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 11:50 pm

Piling on

Brodeur isnt even in the top ten highest paid goalies...

Since: Sep 4, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 11:49 pm

Piling on

Brodeur doesnt make what you would expect.  This past decade he has given Jersey the hometown discount so they could apply the extra coin elsewhere.  Sure it will help but it wont be what other top goalies make.  Dont be surprised to see Brodeur play into his 40's either.  Only one serious injury in his career so he is durable and I see nobody currently in Jersey's franchise able to replace him.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: September 14, 2010 6:26 pm

Piling on

Brodeur will be retiring soon enough, more money is going to be available as a result.  Why keep forgetting how that will be happening.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 14, 2010 10:54 am

Piling on

The devils did nothing wrong in this situation!  They walked in the grey area and were later told their contract was not allowed.  That should have been the end right there.

The real story however is the total cost Kovalchuk with be to the devils.  In order to obtain him last year, they gave up Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, and a first round pick.  They have now lost another first round pick, a third round pick, and $3 million dollars.  The cost of Kovalchuk's cap hit will likely cost the devils Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus.  Another long term impact of Kovalchuck could be the loss of Zach Parise.  With Kovy's cap hit, signing Parise is going to be a challenge to say the least.

So right now it looks like the cost for kovalchuk is:

Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, Bryce Salvador, Dainius Zubrus, Zach Parise, 2 first round picks, a 3rd round pick, and $3 million (not even taking into account his $100 million dollar contract).

Lou Lamoriello is undoubtedly one of the smartest guys in hockey, but you have to question whether Kovy's cost is really worth it.

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