NHL Softens Devils Penalty on Cap Circumvention, NJ Gets Back First Round Pick

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL has softened the New Jersey Devils penalty for the attempted cap circumvention in the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk in the summer of 2010.  Kovalchuk’s first contract (a 17 year front loaded deal) was rejected by the league, and then appealed, where an arbitrator agreed with the league.  As a result the league handed the Devils a penalty and the team was forced to re-negotiate the contract.


In 2010, the Devils agreed to a 17-year $102 million contract with Kovalchuk. However, the NHL rejected the deal for circumventing the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.

Kovalchuk ended up signing a 15-year $100 million contract with the Devils after the original circumvention debate was settled.  The second contract was approved by the league, but a new rule was put in place regarding the handling of cap hits on long-term deals that take players past the age of 40.  Kovalchuk’s original deal was to take him to the age of 44, and the approved deal took him to the age of 42.  The NHL also announced the punishments on Devils at that time.

Kovalchuk left the Devils last summer, as he shocked the world and announced his NHL “retirement” and went to the KHL to play for SKA St. Petersburg.

Barring an unexpected lottery win the Devils would sit with the 11th overall pick in the first round today, however they will be picking 30th regardless of where they finish.  All teams ahead of them in the standings (below them in draft order) will move up one spot in the first round.


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