How to Read Kovalchuk’s Contract Rejection

It’s official, everyone has posted that the contract has circumvented the Collective Bargaining Agreement with arbitrator Richard Bloch’s decision that the NHL was right in rejecting the deal.

Couple of things: One, I am starting to feel more and more certain that the NHL is afraid if the Devils get good again, the league as a whole will suffer.  Perhaps I’m just being paranoid, but this is starting to bother me.

Two, there are other long term deals that the NHL has approved that did similar things.  What’s the guideline here?  What is acceptable and what isn’t?  Does this decision give us a figure that we can abide by to get the NHL’s a-okay?

Three, this might not be as bad as it looks.  Here’s why:

If the Devils don’t sign Kovalcuk at all, they have $2.8 million in cap room that they can play with.  This means if the deal did go through, they would need to drop $3.2 million in salary before the season started.  That’s actually quite a bit, and not something easily done without losing a couple of good guys.

Now if the contract is worked, approved by the NHL and we do get Kovalchuk, chances are we’re going to get a bigger cap hit then we want and maybe even need to drop more money before the beginning of the season.

While Kovalchuk’s offensive abilities would be a nice addition to the Devils shallow offensive lines, would they want to risk dropping some good guys to make up for it?

I figure if this deal were to go through, Lou had a plan already in place of who was going to be kicked off of the island, but we probably wouldn’t know until after the start of training camp, as the cap limit doesn’t go in to effect until the season starts.

Now we must wait and see what comes of all of this.  We don’t yet know the complete fall-out as more could still come.  The NHL could fine the Devils, they could be forced to sacrifice draft picks for next season, and they could collectively get a spanking from Gary Bettman himself.

I hope that last one isn’t true.

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