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Breakdown of Ilya Kovalchuk's latest contract offer as we wait on NHL's decision

Sep 1, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

kovalchukpressconf2.jpgIs today going to be the day that Ilya Kovalchuk finally becomes a New Jersey Devil for life? Unfortunately we’ve got no inklings which way the NHL will decide on his latest contract offer of 15 years for $100 million. What we do have, thanks to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, is a look at how the money breaks down year-by-year in the contract.

2010-11: $6 million

2011-12: $6 million

2012-13: $11 million

2013-14: $11.3 million

2014-15: $11.3 million

2015-16: $11.6 million

2016-17: $11.8 million

2017-18: $10 million

2018-19: $7 million

2020-21: $4 million

2021-22: $1 million

2022-23: $1 million

2023-24: $1 million

2024-25: $3 million

2025-26: $4 million

At the very least, the contract doesn’t tail off laughably so, so the criticisms made about the previous deal being a “retirement contract” can’t be made on this one. The contract also puts the bite on the Devils if they had plans to potentially buy out Kovalchuk towards the end just in case things got bad. Fire & Ice’s Tom Gulitti also points out another potential problem with the numbers breakdown.

The other potential sticking point is the three consecutive seasons at $1 million in Years 11, 12 and 13. After that, Kovalchuk would make $7 million in the final two years of the contract–if he played it out until its end. But, those three consecutive seasons at $1 million create a clear transition point in the deal from the first 10 years to the last five.

By comparison, Marian Hossa’s contract, which is still under investigation by the NHL, will pay him $1 million for each of the last four seasons after totaling $59.3 million for the first eight seasons. 

What isn’t known, and what could prove to be a major sticking point, is where the no-movement clauses or no-trade clauses begin and end. That was cited to be a big reason why there were problems in the last contract and it’s unknown where or if they even exist in this deal.  

Today could be a long day of waiting for news so be ready for anything at any time. Seeing as how we were dead wrong on our gut feeling about how the league was going to rule the last time, we’ll just throw our hands up and say we have no idea how anything works instead. Keep in mind though, if the NHL does say no to this contract, the NHLPA can, once again, file a grievance with the NHL over the decision. We really could go full-circle on this ride once again.

  1. Alex - Sep 1, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Just say No!
    If all this broohaha happened strictly so that the dollar amounts of laughably low years can be moved to the late middle of the contract forget it. I know the loophole is there but simply close it. I am not against haveing a variance in years but put a reasonable cap on it (1 mil. A season difference, up or down?)
    Everyone involved in this contract needs to be slapped upside the back of their head for this circus.

  2. David - Sep 1, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    You only listed 14 years in the post. You skipped 2019-20 at $4 million. That makes the $7m to 4m to 1m a more palatable $7m to 4m to 4m to 1m.

  3. David - Sep 1, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    Following up on Alex’s comments, what are the Devils, or Kovalchuck, gaining by structuring the contract as they did. They can get almost the same benefit by gracefully ending the agreement. For example, the contract could be structured as follows:
    It has a graceful build up to $11,000,000 and a graceful decrease to $1,000,000 in the years where, for all his ability, that may be all he is worth. Yet the last 5 years of this proposal is $12,000,000 which is just $2,000,000 more than the last 5 years as now submitted to the NHL. Wouldn’t this contract make more sense, and wouldn’t the NHL be unable to oppose it?

  4. King Donko - Sep 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    This just needs to end. I don’t care which way it pans out anymore but they need to fix the loop hole either on this contract or the next. If this was the NFL we would be going crazy with the media coverage. NHL, fix this now! Also I agree, everyone needs a slap to the head LOL!

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