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The Rock, NJ • United States • 35 Years Old • Male
Source: nj.com

Much of the hockey world wonders if the decision to break the bank for unrestricted free agent Ilya Kovalchuk was general manager Lou Lamoriello's move or if owner Jeff Vanderbeek stepped in.

It is, after all, an uncharacteristic signing by the Devils.

Nevertheless, veteran forward Dainius Zubrus said he wasn't surprised by what is believed to be a $102 million deal for Kovalchuk.

"I'm not surprised. Three years in a row we thought we had a chance and we were out of the playoffs in the first round," Zubrus said today from his home in Montreal. "They're trying to change things up. It's obviously a huge move."

It leaves the Devils pondering further moves to open cap space. Zubrus said some big names could be on their way out of New Jersey.

"Yeah, I think so," he said. "There's going to have to be something done. I don't know all the numbers, but I'm pretty sure we're over the cap. I don't think anybody knows what will happen, but something will."

Zubrus, who played as well as any member of the Devils in the 2010 playoffs against the Flyers, said he isn't overly worried about being traded. He will earn $3.4 million this season.

"Am I worried? I don't know. It's tough for me to say," Zubrus said. "Do I wake up in the morning and worry if I'm going to be traded? No. I don't think that way.

"I hope I'm not traded. I want to be on this team. I want to stay here. I believe we're a good team. I really like the pickups of (Anton) Volchenkov and (Henrik) Tallinder. I played with Tallinder in Buffalo. Even though it was a while back, I played with Volchenkov in the World Cup. He was younger and didn't play that much. He's a grown man now."

And what about the acquisition of Kovalchuk? Does he fit in with the Devils?

"He's a good player. I think he's a good guy in the locker room," Zubrus said. "Only the results will show if he fits in. Only the hockey part will answer that.

"I'm glad this is over now. It's been taking a while. I'm happy he's with us, obviously. He makes our team better."

Rich Chere: [email]rchere@starledger.com[/email]

Never before have the Devils moved so boldly to sign the top free agent of the summer, and though Kovalchuk was their own player, the reported 17-year, $102 million deal is by far the biggest contract the Devils have ever given to a free agent. Here’s a look at some of the biggest free-agent signings the Devils have made since Lou Lamoriello became their general manager in 1987:

2010 Ilya Kovalchuk, Devils, $102*/17: Outbid the L.A. Kings for 2-time 50-goal-scorer.

2008 Brian Rolston, from Minnesota, $20/4: Hasn’t lived up to expectations.

2007 Dainius Zubrus, from Buffalo, $20.4/6: Signed after Scott Gomez left for the Rangers.

2005 Alexander Mogilny, from Toronto, $7/2: Patrik Elias had hepatitis, so Mogilny was asked to fill in.

2005 Vladimir Malakhov, from Philadelphia, $7.2/2: Was supposed to replace Scott Niedermayer, who went to Anaheim.

2002 Patrik Elias, Devils, $14.75/3: Increase over previous $750,000 salary.

1994 Scott Stevens, Devils, $17/4: Matched offer sheet signed with St. Louis.

*In $ millions
Filed Under:   New Jersey Devils   kovalchuck  
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Blog Archive

10 On Kovi free agency
12 WOW The Devils Make A Great Move!!!!
12 John MacLean is hands on as Devils open prospects camp
12 Is Ilya Kovalchuk moving closer to signing with Los Angeles?
13 Has Kovalchuck lost his footing with New Jersey Devils Fans?
13 Elias understands Kovalchuk's dilemma
14 Elias excited for what future holds
15 Lots of talk but nothing to announce yet on Kovalchuk
15 Kovalchuk Looking Less and Less Likely for New Jersey Devils
15 Kovalchuk desperately wants to be the highest paid Russian!!
15 Devils don't offer veteran center Eric Chouinard a contract
15 Anton Volchenkov: Devils were my second choice
15 MacLean meets the A-Train
16 Are Ilya Kovalchuk's salary demands tied to Alex Ovechkin?
16 Newly-signed Tyler Eckford wants to play his way into a job
16 Devils' World Won't End if Kovy Bypasses Newark
18 Kings believed they had a 50-50 chance of signing Kovinuts
19 Brian Rolston knows that changes are coming for Devils
19 Devils' signing of Ilya Kovalchuk puts a smile on John Mac!!
19 Dainius Zubrus: signing Ilya Kovalchuk was to shake up the Devils
19 What might happen next?????
20 Who Will Go???
20 Which Contracts Will Lou Dump Now?
20 Left winger Ilya Kovalchuk, there is significance to #17
21 Once Kovalchuk's deal is settled, attention to Zach!!!
21 NHL doesn't believe Ilya Kovalchuk will stay untill Age 44
21 contracts similar to Ilya Kovalchuk's deal with Devils
21 NHL Players' Assocation issues statement On Kovi
21 Lamoriello statement on Kovalchuk signing
21 ’t win Ilya Kovalchuk contract showdown
22 It's in hands of Ilya Kovalchuk and union
22 NHL might have picked wrong fight
22 LA Kings Dean Lombardi backs up Kovalchuck Contract
24 NHLPA to file grievance
25 The Kovi Saga
25 NHL prosecution merely a temper tantrum
26 Devils wait for players' union to file grievance
26 contract could trigger a war between Devils and NHL
27 Decision on Kovalchuk is expected nexty week
28 Kovalchuk contract could be restructured by arbitrator
28 Yann Danis Going to KHL
28 Mark Fraser Signed....
29 Newly-signed Mark Fraser vows to be 'mean, physical Player
30 Arbitrator has been agreed upon
30 Kovalchuck Hearing?????
31 Arbitrator - Richard Bloch a NEw Jersey Native
31 Association agree on arbitrator to rule on Ilya Kovalchuk
03 Kovalchuk will attend contract hearing
03 Devils will wear retro jerseys March 18 vs. Washington
04 D day for Kovi and the Devils
05 Roller Hockey at the Jersey Shore
06 Jim Dowd Shore High School Hockey Game set for Sunday
06 Is this is a set-up between Lou and Gary???
09 The arbitration decision coming today
11 Translated article from soviet sports kovalchuck
11 Devils name Rick Kowalsky head coach at Albany
12 HEATS ON!!!!
12 Where do the Devils stand in the market???
16 Today might be the day
16 90 million over 10-13 for kovi?
16 Russian News Paper Reports Devs and Kovi....
17 Contract submitted???
18 Another Quiet day in the Kovi Front
19 Devils still waiting to see what happens with Kovy
19 “Status Quo” On Ilya Kovalchuk And Devils
20 Devils After Marc-Andre Bergeron???
20 Kovi wants nothing to do with the KHL
20 Elias on the Move???
21 Questions Surround Devils in Wake of Kovalchuck saga
22 Brian Burke Testified Against Ilya Kovalchuk Contract???
22 Devils Bringing Hockey Back To Atlantic City
23 Patrik Elias could be moved to sign fellow winger Zach Paris
23 Today could be the Day!!!
23 News 1130 out of Vancouver Reports on Kovi
23 Possible contract for Kovalchuck
23 Devils add more youth to the roster
23 EJHradek_ESPN Reports NJ Devils meet with the NHL
24 News 12 New Jersey Reports on Kovi Contract...
24 Bryce Salvador to Stars...
25 NHL 2 Devils 0.....
25 Lamoriello not frustrated by Kovalchuk process
25 Commish denies report of deal rejection
26 – NYPOST.com
26 Looks Like KHL is out of the question
27 Could this be finalyy over???
30 Devils could part with Zajac if Kovalchuk stays
30 ’ contract, but Kovalchuk retires
31 ’s official decision on Kovalchuk’s TODAY!!!!!
31 Niemi a Devil?????