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

The NHL Players' Association likely will file a grievance today on behalf of Ilya Kovalchuk, whose 17-year, $102 million contract was rejected by the league.

The union has until 5 p.m. to file the grievance or the Russian left winger will once again become an unrestricted free agent.

Kovalchuk, 27, signed the longest contract in NHL history but the league rejected it for "circumventing the salary cap." The length of the deal lowered the cap hit to $6 million but league officials do not believe Kovalchuk will still be playing in the final years when his salary is set to be $550,000 per season.

He would be 44 in the final season of the deal.

Although the NHL informed the Devils one week ago that the contract would be rejected, the team went ahead and held a press conference at the Prudential Center Tuesday afternoon. That evening, the contract was officially rejected.

During the press conference, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello admitted he did not like the idea that teams could skirt the salary cap issue by stretching out a contract. But he maintained the team did nothing illegal.

The league disagreed.

Ironically, the Devils hope a grievance filed by the Players' Assiociation will result in a victory for the team, allowing the contract to stand. If a grievance is filed today, which is expected, an arbitrator will rule on the outcome.

If the arbitrator rules in favor of the NHLPA and Kovalchuk, the deal stands. If the decision goes against Kovalchuk, he immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Although the Los Angeles Kings might then be interested in re-opening talks, it is more likely Kovalchuk would seek to have the deal reworked by the Devils.

While an arbitrator is supposed to make a ruling within 48 hours of the grievance being filed, there is a question as to whether there is someone in place to handle the matter. If not, the ruling could be delayed for an undetermined period.

When the NHL rejected the contract the Devils did not have the right to appeal, so they turned to the players' union.
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Blog Archive

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15 Anton Volchenkov: Devils were my second choice
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29 Newly-signed Mark Fraser vows to be 'mean, physical Player
30 Arbitrator has been agreed upon
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31 Arbitrator - Richard Bloch a NEw Jersey Native
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