Ilya Kovalchuk Chaos: Did the Devils Do the NHL a Favor… On Purpose?

July 21st, 2010 by TAB BAMFORD Leave a reply »
On Tuesday, within hours of the press conference introducing their new $102 Million Dollar Man, the New Jersey Devils received word that the league had rejected the contract on grounds that the deal was trying to circumvent the salary cap.

The deal is now in a holding pattern, waiting for an arbiter to rule, with the team and player considering how much to fight the league’s opinion.

Kovalchuk would earn $98.5 million of the $102 million in the first 11 years of the deal, but only $550k in each of the final five seasons. The star forward would be 44 when the deal expires.

Empty seasons at the end of a contract has been an issue in the Commissioner’s Office for the last 13 months because of two deals that took a similar route last summer: Philadelphia’s deal with Chris Pronger and the Blackhawks ’ contract with Marian Hossa.

Because the CBA uses the average annual salary of a player to calculate the number used for the salary cap, stretching a deal out with empty seasons at the end is a loophole that effectively allows a team to lower the cap number for a player while still paying them what they want.

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