As I’m sure you have all heard by now, the NHL’s decision to reject Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils was upheld by the arbitrator.
In short, it was determined that the structure of the deal clearly was an attempt to circumvent the current salary cap as defined by the CBA given that the contract would have paid Kovy $95 million over the first ten years while only saddling the Devils with a $6 million cap hit per season.
As for the decision itself, while I was surprised the arbitrator sided completely with the NHL, I can’t say I disagree with his decision. To me it’s pretty much clear that the two parties were trying to bend the rules via creative accounting and eventually you have to start enforcing the rules.
But wasn’t the same thing happening with the contracts signed between Marian Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks…and for that matter Chris Pronger’s with the Flyers? There is certainly an argument that can be made to that point.