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.