New Jersey Devils Close To Being Seized By NHL, According To Report

NEWARK NJ - JULY 20: Team owner Jeff Vanderbeek and Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils field questions during a media opportunity announcing Kovalchuk's contract renewal at the Prudential Center on July 20 2010 in Newark New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL is close to seizing the New Jersey Devils from owner Jeff Vanderbeek due to the team's large pile of debt, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reported on Monday.

New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is close to losing his team, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reported on Monday.

A source close to the situation told Kosman that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is preparing to seize control of the Devils franchise if Vanderbeek cannot find a way to refinance the Devils' debt prior to an Aug. 14 deadline.

Bettman is unlikely to wait until the deadline date to force out Vanderbeek, according to the Post. The NHL commissioner would like to have time for potential suitors to prepare an offer to the team's lenders prior to the bankruptcy deadline.

Bettman is close enough to taking control of the Devils that he's already told potential suitors to be ready in case the team is taken from Vanderbeek, according to the Post.

Vanderbeek is reportedly close to selling a majority stake of the Devils to an unnamed buyer, which would allow him the money to repay much of the team's $77 million in past-due debt. But Bettman still has doubts.

For more on the Devils, visit the SB Nation blog In Lou We Trust.

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