The hockey world was buzzing Thursday afternoon when New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk officially filed for retirement, though he’s not really retiring. Kovalchuk, 30, had 12 years and $77 million left on his contract and was set to enter the big money years in his contract. The news was stunning but in the big picture it really wasn’t. Kovalchuk’s returning to Russia where he’s expected to sign for around $14 to $15 million a year with SKA of the KHL. Once Kovalchuk strongly considered staying in the KHL this past January when the lockout ended, the Devils had to sense it was only a matter of time before he officially bolted to the KHL for good. That is always the risk with Russian players and it won’t surprise me if Evgeni Malkin at somepoint in the next five to six years decides to go to the KHL for good.Read More »
Veteran winger Billy Guerin will attend the Philadelphia Flyers training camp on a tryout basis. Guerin, 39, scored 21 goals last season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers have been at the top of Guerin’s wishlist along with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins though failed to clear any cap space and Guerin’s focus has been with the Flyers of late. Guerin has been working out at the Flyers facility for almost two weeks now as his agent Bob Murray initiated talks with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren in late August. Guerin’s camp is optimistic that Guerin will earn a contract out of camp. The Flyers though first want to look at a few up and coming players in their system before giving Guerin a contract. Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division, the National Hockey League came down hard on the New Jersey Devils today regarding the Ilya Kovalchuk situation. The league announcedRead More »
Around the NHL The New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk have agreed to the framework of a new deal in the range of 12-13 years but at this time both sides are not able to push forward with the deal. After Devils officials and agent Jay Grossman met with NHL officials on Monday, the NHL has not signed off on the framework of the deal nearly 48 hours later. Discussions though are ongoing between officials from both sides. A league source told me earlier in the week that the framework of the new deal has Kovalchuk’s cap hit closer to $7 million than the previously $6 million cap hit for the 17 year – $102 million deal that was rejected. League contacts are hinting the deal will be 12-13 years in the $84-$91 million range, which we reported on Monday. The NHL is trying to put an end to dealsRead More »
Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils are inching closer to a new agreement. The two sides are believed to be in the final stages of finalizing a new multi-year deal that is expected to be announced at somepoint this week, pending league approval. Devils officials and agent Jay Grossman remain tight lipped on the specifics of the deal. Some in the know are hinting the new agreement will be a 12-13 year deal in the range of $84-$91 million but it is not clear if the Devils will be able to move forward with this type of deal.
The Latest NHL Buzz The 2010 NHL Free Agency Period has been a unique year and a frustrating summer for agents trying to find their clients jobs and the right fit. After the first frenzy of signings on July 1, the second wave of signings has been prominently slow for mid-tier players who are suddenly finding it very difficult to find work and the right fit. Many agents of established productive veterans I’ve spoken with in the past couple days tell me signings may not pick up again until mid-to-late September when camps open. One-way contracts will be difficult to earn as teams are looking to go with cheaper younger alternatives to fill their 3rd and 4th lines. “League seems to be caught between capped out and using the one-way money already spent and ELS players who were top draft picks, an NHL agent on the condition of anonymity whoRead More »
By Will DePaoli and James Conley NHL News and Notes: Arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled in favor of the NHL today in the Ilya Kovalchuk case. This was a major win for the NHL as the league has their eye on dramatically changing the structure of contracts in the next CBA. The CBA is set to expire in September 2012. Bloch stated in his ruling that the contract was fully compliant with the CBA but felt it was a retirement contract. New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello issued a statement this evening and remains hopeful that the team will be able to resign Kovalchuk. “We have reviewed and respect Arbitrator Bloch’s ruling in the Kovalchuk matter. We also note and appreciate his finding that nothing in his opinion should be read as suggesting that either the club or Ilya Kovalchuk operated in bad faith or on the basis of anyRead More »
Ilya Kovalchuk is once again a free agent. It was announced this afternoon that arbitrator Richard Bloch has ruled in favor of the NHL to reject the 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils in July. The ruling is viewed by many as a surprise but is a big win for the league who is looking to eliminate contracts longer than 7-to-10 years. The league released a statement shortly ago. “We want to thank Arbitrator Bloch for his prompt resolution of a complex issue. His ruling is consistent with the League’s view of the manner in which the Collective Bargaining Agreement should deal with contracts that circumvent the Salary Cap, ” the league said. Commissioner Gary Bettman said in Pittsburgh last month during the Winter Classic press conference that the league may pursue other long-term contracts if they were to win the Kovalchuk ruling.
The National Hockey League struck down on Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils Wednesday morning, rejecting the mega 17 year – $102 million deal. Courtesy of Dan Rosen NHL.com, National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today issued the following statement regarding the free agent contract forward Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils: “The contract has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the contract rejection triggers a number of possible next steps that may be elected by any or each of the NHLPA, the Player and/or the Club. In the interim, the player is not entitled to play under the contract, nor is he entitled to any of the rights and benefits that are provided for thereunder. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments.” The Devils now have 5 days toRead More »
The Latest Coaching Buzz Two coaching vacancys have been occupied in a matter of 24 hours as Guy Boucher declined an offer to become the Columbus Blue Jackets’ coach, which was first reported by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. The reason for turning down the Blue Jackets’ offer became clear hours later as reports out of Montreal indicated that Boucher accepted the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Two vacancy’s now remain in New Jersey and Atlanta. Boston Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay remains the front runner in Atlanta. In New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello continues to indicate to the New Jersey media that he has not offered the head coaching position to anyone but sources close to Michel Therrien told me over the weekend that Therrien has been in discussions with New Jersey officials. On May 26, I learned that Therrien emerged as the front runner forRead More »
The New Jersey Devils got Ilya Kovalchuk. OK, now what? One thing seems certain: The Devils join a long line of teams that think they have a 1-2 punch to match Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin just because they have two decent offensive threats. Kovalchuk and Zach Parise are good. Sid and Geno, they aren’t. Neither is as good as either. Where does Kovalchuk fit in with New Jersey’s regimented trapping system? Will he make it, or break it? Like-minded Marian Gaborik hated playing for Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota. Lemaire has decelerated Parise’s production this season. Who is Kovalchuk’s playmaking center? Travis Zajac? Jamie Langenbrunner? Please. Kovalchuk is a huge add on the power play. If you beat the Penguins on the power play – not exactly a daunting task – you can beat the Penguins, not that the Devils have had any trouble dealing with the Pens so farRead More »