All indications are the NHL Players' Association will file a grievance by Monday at 5 p.m. over the league rejecting the 17-year, $102-million contract signed by Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils.
A source told sportsnet.ca that the only way a grievance would not be filed was if the Devils and Kovalchuk restructure the deal. However, the source also said that even if the two parties do re-work the contract, the NHLPA may still elect to file a grievance to prevent the league from taking similar action on future deals.
Kovalchuk's contract with the Devils was rejected by the NHL earlier this week after the league ruled that the deal violated its salary cap.
Under the signed agreement, Kovalchuk was slated to earn $98.5 million in the first 11 years of the deal and only $550,000 in each of the last five seasons. The extra years tacked on at the end of the deal took the contract through the 2026-27 season and lowered the overall salary cap hit to $6 million.
Kovalchuk signed the landmark contract with the Devils after being wooed by several teams during the first few weeks of free agency. The 27-year-old held discussions with the Los Angeles Kings and some reports suggested that the New York Islanders also made a play for the left-winger.
On Wednesday, Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, said he wouldn't comment until the matter is resolved.