As broke last night, the NHL rejected Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract with New Jersey as a circumvention of the salary cap,
Here is the statement the league issued Wednesday:
NEW YORK — National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today issued the following statement regarding the free agent contract forward Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils: “The contract has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the contract rejection triggers a number of possible next steps that may be elected by any or each of the NHLPA, the Player and/or the Club. In the interim, the player is not entitled to play under the contract, nor is he entitled to any of the rights and benefits that are provided for thereunder. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments.”
Other than the fact that the former Thrasher would be playing until the age of 44 by the end of the $102 million contract (very unlikely) the issue was the way the salary cap hit per season would have been charged. Reportedly, Kovalchuk would earn $11.5 million annually for five seasons and it would be only a $6 million dollar a year cap hit because of the front-loaded deal.
Update: Kovlachuk’s agent Jay Grossman issued a statement Wednesday saying he would have no comment until the matter is resolved.
Just when you thought it was over, the saga continues. Stay tuned.
I spoke with Slava Kozlov this morning to see if he knew what his playing plans were for next season. He said there is nothing new to report. He is still hoping to play in the NHL. However, he fully intends to play in Russia if there is no deal. He told me at the end of the season that he is looking for a team that can compete for a Stanley Cup.
On the Maxim Afinogenov front, I’m told there have been no recent talks between the team and Afinogenov’s agent.
Update II: As I told you yesterday, the Thrashers walked away from the arbitration decision of $2.4 million salary to forward Clarke MacArthur, making him an unrestricted free agent. His hearing was scheduled for today. The Thrashers obtained MacArthur at the March trade deadline from Buffalo for a third- and fourth-round draft pick.
Lastly, check out this terrific picture of new Thrasher Andrew Ladd and the Stanley Cup. They were posted by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter. He posted three if you want to check them all out. I found this one to particularly cool.
Ladd’s day with the Cup was Sunday and he brought it home, including up into the mountains of British Columbia.