Big news came at an early hour this morning. Around 3ish, the NHL and NHLPA finalized the paperwork for the new CBA amendment...and also officially registered Ilya Kovalchuk's 15 year 100 million dollar deal with the New Jersey Devils.
The CBA amendments are as follows:
(Excerpt from the TSN article)
- There will be two different salary cap numbers for long-term contracts that extend beyond a player's 41st birthday. Until the player reaches age 40, the salary cap hit is the average yearly salary from the start of the contract until the player turns 40. From the player's 41st birthday and beyond, the salary cap hit will be the actual salary paid.
- For players signed to a long-term deal that that extends from ages 36-40 and averages more than $5.75 million for the three highest-compensated seasons, the minimum salary that will be counted toward the average for the salary cap hit is $1 million — even if the actual salary is less than that.
Also, as part of the deal, the league will end its investigations into similar long-term deals signed by Roberto Luongo, Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger and Marc Savard.
As per the NHLPA/NHL CBA amendment agreement, the NHL will, as stated above, will end all investigations into contracts similar to the first 17 year 102 million dollar contract signed by Ilya Kovalchuk. I say the "first one signed", because the second one signed is structured much differently than the contracts listed in the paragraph above, and structured much better than those said contracts.
Also as part of the NHLPA/NHL CBA amendment agreement, while the NHL has until September 17th to penalize the Devils for salary cap circumvention from the first 17 year contract, which can range from a monetary fine to loss of draft picks, any potiental fines imposed on the Devils will NOT RESULT IN SALARY CAP REDUCTION. Meaning if the Devils are fined, they will simply lose money, and they will not have to worry about what their cap situation will look like if Bettman or Daly decides to spring a surprise fine on the Devils. The Devils organization will simply lose money if that happens... money which will most likely be gained back and then some in ticket, merch and jersey sales.
Note the "If". The Devils organization really did the league a favor in the long run by giving the league something to fight against when Kovalchuk signed the initial 17 year deal. What resulted from this crazy offseason? What resulted was clear guidelines on what would and would not be accepted in terms on contract details and letting the previously signed contracts be left alone and being the last of their kind. If nothing else, the NHL brass should be thanking Mr. Vanderbeek and Mr. Lamoriello for being able to make the amendment to the CBA. Had they not, they may have not had a chance until two years from now. Also, the GMs from other teams should be grateful as well. The Flyers, Blackhawks, Red Wings and so on, they get their star players and they will no longer have to worry about those contract investigations. So while it IS POSSIBLE the New Jersey Devils will be fined, it is highly unlikely. Not to mention Daly and Bettman's stance has been that they are not pursuing any "anti- New Jersey Devil agenda". If they wish to stay true to their word, either they will not penalize the Devils without penalizing the other teams. Since they most likely do not intend to penalize other teams, one can hope the Devils won't be either.
And again, even if they are, it will not further complicate things as far as cap space goes. No need to worry about that...although it'd be a slap in the face to the Devils organization for that to happen.
So what's next? With the official registering of Ilya Kovalchuk's 15 year, 100 million dollar deal, his cap hit is 6.67 million dollars, which puts the Devils approximately 3 million over the cap. In order to maintain a full roster... which current Devils will be the victims of clearing cap space?
Obviously, if it weren't for his no trade clause, the most likely candidate would've been Rolston. But since the contract started after he turned 35, it's still on the books no matter what unless he is traded. And for his salary, it's unlikely anyone would take him.
At the same time, no matter who goes, until they are traded to another team, they are still Devils. It will hurt to see whoever is chosen for a trade to go to another team...but all the same, it still has to be done.
All we have, as far as news, are rumors for now. We will most likely not hearing anything about trades other than rumors until Labor Day weekend is over. But rest assured, Lou is prepared and has most likely been prepared since July 1st. So for now I will say...
...In Lou We Trust. The man is a shrewd, shrewd man and a genius, and it's my opinion the CBA agreement result might have been the other thing he was after, apart from getting Kovalchuk's contract registered. So as loyal Devil fans, lets put our trust in Lou. If he didn't let us down here, he won't let us down when it comes to making the right decisions in clearing cap space.
On a different note, for me, it's just sinking in that Kovalchuk's contract has been registered with the league and that it's official. The New Jersey Devils NHL website now has a graphic of Kovalchuk that you have to click on to enter the site...as well as a graphic of Kovy celebreating a goal on the ticketmaster/ticket sales rep link. As well as several articles that talk about us Devil fans celebrating Kovy getting signed, Mr. Lamoriello's statement, and the initial article stating Kovalchuk's contract was FINALLY registered with the league. Today, I guess because this summer was as emotionally stressful as it can get for Devil fans, was overwelming for me as it truly sunk in; Ilya Kovalchuk is a loyal member of the New Jersey Devils. Words can't express how happy and relieved I am right now. And no amount of Flyer or Ranger trolling, insults, attitudes, or pranks can take that away. I honestly feel like we won the Stanley Cup.
I was only planning on getting a Volchenkov jersey next month...but now...I'm also planning on getting a Kovalchuk jersey in November. That's how happy I am that this crazy summer has finally ended. It'll hurt to see who will be shown the door as a victim of clearing cap space, but today, as well as this summer (as emotionally draining as it was) was a monumental day AND summer for New Jersey Devil fans.
With that, I say 'Peace out'. Enjoy and celebrate Devil fans. We're the winners of free agency this summer. And we've got every right to be celebrating and be happy. SO CELEBRATE! =D
GO DEVILS! ! ! !