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In response to the (many) people saying, and now it's time to select an arbitrator and the league and the NHLPA have to agree and that could take months... No. Because of two facts. One, the CBA requires that there already be an arbitrator. The arbitrator is on retainer or on hold or in the on-bat circle or whatever you call it, year-round.
The case is on, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on behalf of Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk, whose 17-year, $102-million contract was rejected last week by the NHL.
Now the league and player's association must decide on an arbiter, who will then have 48 hours to rule whether Kovy’s contract is legal or not. Stay tuned.
That is the big question right now, since Ilya Kovalchuk is not under contract. But he isn’t a free agent. It’s confusing, I know. Here is what Tom Gulitti had to say about it:
As for Kovalchuk’s status-whether he is an unrestricted free agent or Devils’ property-Lamoriello wouldn’t answer that question either. According to someone who would know but was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, Kovalchuk is still contractually linked to the Devils, though that contract is not considered legal by the NHL. So, he is not a UFA and is not free to speak with other teams about a contract. He could change that by requesting that the NHLPA not pursue the matter with a grievance, but that does not appear to be his intention.
OK,so here is how this works. Kovalchuk is still Devils' property, even though they currently don’t have a legal contract. So he can’t talk to other teams, and other teams can’t approach him. The reason for this is because although the NHL rejected the contract, that objection will have to be approved by an arbitration judge if the NHLPA files a grievance. Until that happens, he is still Devils property because the arbitration judge could rule this a valid contract.
The only way that Kovalchuk would become a UFA is if he tells the NHLPA that he does not want them to bring this case to arbitration, and thus, the NHL’s ruling would be automatically accepted. Then Kovalchuk would be a UFA, and it would be as though he never signed a deal with the Devils.
What is most likely to happen, is that the NHLPA is going to file a grievance and the case will go to court. And arbitration judge will deem if the NHL had the right to reject the contract, and then he will rule from there.
As of right now, it appears that the latter will be the case. I can’t see Kovalchuk giving up on his $100-million dollar dream. It’s just gonna keep going, and we’ll keep you in the loop while it happens.
So, what does the rejection by the NHL of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils mean? And, what happens next?
The best full explanation I have seen thus far comes from Craig Sustance of The Sporting News.
Here is a snippet.
Part of the problem for the NHL is whether Kovalchuk will play through the full length of the contract. He would be 44 when the pact expired.
There also is a crucial time element to the Kovalchuk case. Every day he fights for this deal means one less day on the open market as an unrestricted free agent. The Los Angeles Kings have indicated they might still be interested, but the Kovalchuk market could dry up if the fight drags out.
Somewhere there’s a balance between what’s best for the union and best for Kovalchuk. But these long-term deals are contracts players want the right to negotiate. Mark Guy represents a number of young NHL stars who will be watching this closely, including Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos and Bobby Ryan.
Hey, at least this whole mess is bringing the spotlight to hockey during the middle of the summer. That has to be of some help, right?
According to the NY Post, Lou Lamoriello was “informed” by the NHL that they were most likely going to reject the offer. Here is a highlight from the full story:
It wasn’t official until last night, but a high source told The Post today that the NHLhad contacted the Devils – before yesterday’s press conference – to alert them to the likelihood that the league was going to reject Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract.
Another source said the Devils “absolutely” knew, confirming an ESPN report.
The Devils apparently went through with their press conference in order to seal their position and set in motion the chain of events that will likely lead to arbitration, which is expected to force the NHL to accept and register the deal.
This doesn’t make any sense to me. I understand Lou not wanting to cancel the press conference because it would be an embarrassing situation for the Devils, but I don’t see how going through with it and then having it blow up in the Devils face is any better.
Anyway, this situation is getting wierder by the minute. And we will have it all for you here when it happens.
Here is New Jersey Devils’ General Manager Lou Lamoriello’s statement about the NHL’s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract.
"We are extremely disappointed that the NHL has decided to reject the contract of Ilya Kovalchuk. The contract complies with the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will have no further comment until the process outlined in the CBA is complete."
Well, the saga continues. According to TSN the NHL has rejected the contract signed by Ilya Kovalchuk with the New Jersey Devils yesterday.
The NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on the grounds that it circumvents the NHL’s salary cap.
Not to brag, but I called this on Rink Side Radio last night. Also, it isn’t a surprise, since $99 million is paid in the first 10 years, while $550,000 was scheduled to be paid each of the remaining seven years of the deal.
What does this mean for Kovalchuk? The TSN article from above takes care of that:
TSN Insider Darren Dreger explains that the deal was rejected due to the fact that the NHL does not believe that either Kovalchuk nor the Devils expected the 2004 Rocket Richard trophy winner would be playing near end of the contract and that it is a case of artificially lowering the annual average value of the contract. The Devils must now either file the contract once again or the Players' Association can file a grievance.
Should the NHLPA decide to file a grievance, the contract would remain dead until an arbitrator determines otherwise.
As far as Kovalchuk and the Devils are concerned, I don't know where they go from here. It seemed like this was the only way that Lamoriello could get Kovalchuk under contract was to pull off a move like this, and now it has been rejected.
There will be some backlash because deals like Marian Hossa's 12-year contract and Chris Pronger's seven-year contract were basically the same thing. But I think that the NHL has a point here, this deal was for way too many years, and it paid him the league minimum for the final seven years of the deal. There is no way that this wasn't a way to get around the cap.
For all of you NHL fans out there who don't want to see another lockout, look at this as a huge step forward.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello himself expressed doubts about the deal’s legitimacy to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record after the press conference to introduce Kovalchuk in Newark today:
I asked Lamoriello what he would think if someone brought up Kovalchuk’s contract in the next round of CBA negotiations (in two years) and pointed to it as a flaw.
“I might agree,” he said. “But there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. But I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.”
It was clear that ownership-headed by Jeff Vanderbeek-was behind this particular contract. Not that Lamoriello didn’t endorse bringing Kovalchuk back.
Lamoriello denied comments to Gulitti, while Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek said he wasn’t aware the deal had been rejected. We’ll keep you posted on this as the evening continues.
The Los Angeles Kings are apparently not surprised they were unable to land Ilya Kovalchuk.
“We left our best offer out there on Thursday and it was a yes or no. There wasn’t really that much to talk about,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that it’s New Jersey. I think we were genuinely in it. But as far as saying being used, quite frankly that’s the agent’s job, whether you want to call it being used or building leverage for his client. That’s his job by definition. At times you get upset about it but that’s the reality. That’s his job, to build up as much leverage as possible and get as much as he can for his client.”
Here’s Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov with the details:
Kovalchuk $102m over 17 years. $10m per year for the first 8 years. $7.5 for the next 2, from what I heard.
That would make the contract for $95 million over the first 10 years, and $7 million over the final seven. Its a fairly obvious sham, but whatever, says this Devils fan! I’ll have more later.
In a surprise move, the New Jersey Devils managed to re-sign the superstar winger to a contract.
Although contract details have not yet been announced TSN is reporting the deal to be done.
It looks like Ilya Kovalchuk is staying in New Jersey.
According to the team’s official Twitter account, the winger has signed a contract and will have a press conference to announce the deal on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman said on Twitter: “Ilya Kovalchuk will make his decision today (for sure, this time!)”.
While we don’t know the terms yet, one would have to imagine that it is at least an $8 million-dollar deal. The love affair between Lou Lamoriello and Kovalchuck never seemed to end, and Lamorilello was always confident that he could get the winger under contract. Now the Devils have some cap space issues that they have to work out, but for now they have to be feeling pretty good about themselves.
We will have more for you here when it breaks. Until then check out In Lou We Trust for more on the situation.
The Ilya Kovalchuk watch will seemingly never end.
A report earlier in the day indicated a deal with the Los Angeles Kings was nearly complete. Now, however, that does not seem completely accurate.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said the Devils remain in the quest.
Kovalchuk is believed to favor Los Angeles over Newark, all things being equal, but it appeared they weren’t equal for the first two weeks of this bidding. Kovalchuk was said to be ready to rejoin New Jersey on July 5, but is believed to have decided late to give the Kings another chance, then another, and now another. He made a visit to Los Angeles early this week and it is thought talks took off from there.
I wish the guy would just decide already. This is feeling like a soap opera that has been on the air too long.
The New York Post is reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk is close to signing with the Los Angeles Kings.
Free agent Ilya Kovalchuk is close to signing a contract with the Los Angeles Kings, Sportsnet Canada reports.
Analyst Nick Kypreos wrote on Twitter, “A big swing in the Ilya/Kings talks. Major stumbling blocks have been rectified. A source now described it to me as ‘close but not done.’”
Kovalchuk visited the Kings earlier this week but left without a deal, which kept the Devils in the running to re-sign the left wing.
Honestly, I can’t say that I am surprised if this does happen, but please take this news with a grain of salt. The Kovalchuk sweepstakes have gotten so out of control that you really can’t believe anything that you hear until it is finished.
Regardless, the expectations are that the Kings were going to land Kovalchuk, and this seems to point in that direction.
Kovalchuk would add some heavy artillery to the Kings, and make them a sexy pick for next year's Cup contenders. In joining the Kings he would also leave the Devils wondering what more they could have done to nab the superstar winger.
More when anything becomes official.
Free agent Ilya Kovalchuk is still trying to convince someone to bite on his $100 million asking price. His latest visit was to the Los Angeles Kings.
Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk’s New York-based agent, met with members of the Kings’ hockey operations department before leaving Los Angeles on Tuesday night. It’s not clear if Grossman and Kovalchuk made any concessions on their initial $100-million price. General Manager Dean Lombardi, who declined to comment, has said the club can’t pay Kovalchuk a $10-million average annual salary, retain core players and add the pieces he still needs for the Kings to become Stanley Cup contenders.
Dude, come off the $100 million, figure out what teams are actually willing to pay, compromise a little and get this over with. At this point, this whole Kovalchuk saga is beyond ridiculous.
New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello says his team is still in the hunt for free-agent Ilya Kovalchuk.
This is getting worse than the just-concluded LeBronathon. I wish the guy would make a decision already.
According to Hockey Hall of Famer Helene Elliott of the LA Times:
The Kings have again said no to signing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk, this time appearing to close the door and lock it behind them.
General Manager Dean Lombardi ended his initial pursuit of the two-time 50-goal scorer Sunday but was “re-engaged” by Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman. After crunching the numbers of a proposal sent Wednesday by Grossman, the Kings calculated they couldn’t sign Kovalchuk and have salary cap space to retain the young players who are becoming the franchise’s cornerstones.
“We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players,” Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, said Wednesday night. “Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can’t let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap.”
This leaves Kovalchuk and his agent, Jay Grossman, with either A. Sign with the Devils at whatever offer Lou Lamoriello has on the table, B. Sign with a mystery team that hasn’t come up in the reports yet, C. Go home to Russia and bathe in gold krugerrands. The choice is his alone to make.
New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello says it is ‘status quo’ on the Ilya Kovalchuk front. But a report indicates the Devils need cap space to make a deal happen.
Speculation began to percolate as how Lamoriello could sign Kovalchuk and remain beneath the salary cap of $59.4 million, or even use his summertime 10 percent excess allowance. He has some $6 million in room, counting 16 obvious regulars, and aside from Kovalchuk, would have to count six more for a 23-man roster, that half-dozen likely to total at least $4 million.
Should he sign Kovalchuk, and the figure of $60 million over seven years offered by one source seems realistic, he would barely have that 110 percent summertime space, and would have to shed some $6 million in salaries by Game 1.
Clearing cap space is a difficult task, especially with eight no-trade contracts: Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias (no movement), Jason Arnott, Colin White, Anton Volchenkov, Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, none of which have expired or contain windows of relief, sources say.
A report from a Russian news service has Ilya Kovalchuk close to signing with St. Petersburg of the KHL.
The report reads, “according to Sport Express information, Ilya Kovalchuk is close to signing a contract with SKA.”
Kovalchuk’s Russia-based agent Yuriy Nikolaev had told Sport Express earlier this week that it was more likely that his client would remain in the NHL, but also confirmed that he was talking to SKA St. Petersburg. Sport Express reported Sunday that Kovalchuk had a four-year, $36 million offer from SKA St. Petersburg and that the 27-year-old sniper was looking for $40 million total for the four years.
(The Russian-version of the story—as translated by Google—said of SKA’s offer “the total amount of the contract including bonuses, could be approximately $40 million.”)
After a long day, we aren’t any closer to finding out where Ilya Kovalchuk will end up.
Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, announced it to the world on Twitter:
Ilya Kovalchuk choices have been narrowed down, details to be finalized but no announcement tonight.
Hopefully there will be some news tomorrow.
According to Mark Everson of the New York Post (a dubious man to break this), the New Jersey Devils have re-signed star winger Ilya Kovalchuk for a likely team record seven years, $60 Million. Everson repeats what most of us know already:
With Ilya Kovalchuk's agent breaking silence to promise a decision today, it appears the Devils have the inside track on re-signing him to what one source suggests will be a seven-year, $60 million package.
The Islanders have indicated their interest in the 27-year-old superstar, but that same source says they did not make a formal bid of $100 million over 10 years.
The Kings dropped out of the running after Kovalchuk rejected their last offer, and his Russian options have dwindled as well, with one report suggesting four years at $9 million each.
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