According to TSN, the NHL and the NHLPA have reached an agreement and accepting Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract is part of that agreement. From the TSN article:
Sources tell TSN that the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have reached an agreement on an amendment to the rules that govern long term contracts.
The two sides are now working on getting the paperwork done in time for the 5pm et deadline both sides agreed upon to render a verdict on the Ilya Kovalchuk contract situation.
The agreement means that Kovalchuk’s contract with the New Jersey Devils will also get approved as part of a new global settlement.
If it is true then finally, the saga ends. It took long enough, there were more twists and turns than a roller coaster, but it’s finally finished. Kovalchuk will be a New Jersey Devil for the next 15 years, if he finishes the contract.
We will have more when official word comes from the NHL.