Kovalchuk Signs with the Devils


The book has (finally) closed on the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, as the Russian winger elected to remain with the New Jersey Devils.  This ends weeks of mind-numbing speculation and rumour-rehashing, including a recent explosion of news in the hockey world that had all signs pointing towards Los Angeles.  Thus, while there will be some surprise that Kovalchuk did not head down south, the overwhelming feeling amongst hockey fans today will be relief.  A side-effect of Kovalchuk’s prolonged decision-making has been the absolute cessation of any other hockey activity.  The dam should finally burst as the remaining free agents and possible trades will now be explored further by the league’s general managers.

The contract will be an unheard-of 17 years in length.  Kovalchuk will be 44 at the end of this deal, but as we are all well aware, the length is but a cap-saving ploy to reduce the annual cap hit on a deal that is worth over $100 million.  Exact contract details are still hazy at this point, as ESPN is reporting a contract value closer to $150 million.  The “reactionary moves” have already begun, as the Flyers have shipped out Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning.