Ilya Kovalchuk: The Devil You Know

Ilya Kovalchuk is staying with the Devils he knows. He’s signed a whopping 17-year deal worth $102 million to stay in New Jersey.

The league’s leading goal scorer since 2001 has finally ended ages of speculation, putting an end to seemingly countless possibilities about where he’d end up and for how long. Los Angeles, New Jersey, the KHL, the Islanders, and loads of other teams and places were on the radar, it seemed, and there was no end to the conjecture. Needless to say, it was kinda fun to play guessing games.

“This was a long arduous process that has taken frankly a little longer than I thought,” agent Jay Grossman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “But you know what, nothing is worth anything unless you work for it. I can tell you he is very happy to be with the New Jersey Devils.”

It is said that the deal came down to a showdown between the offers from the Kings and the Devils. There was no word on the final reasoning for Kovalchuk, but many are speculating that it’s because he thought New Jersey was made of better championship material. Having Martin Brodeur in goal has to be considered a possible drawing feature, too.

This means that Kovalchuk will finally be able to show his stuff as a Devil for an entire year, something that Zach Parise considers to be a major bonus. “It’ll make a big difference,” he said. “You are throwing someone in mid-season when sometimes it is tough when you are comfortable with certain situations.”

The deal breaks down as follows: Kovy earns $6 million for the next two seasons, then $11.5 million for the next five, then $10.5 in 2017-2018, $8.5 in 2018-2019, $6.5 million in 2019-2020, $3.5 million in 2020-2021, $750,000 in 2021-2022, and $550,000 for the last five years of the deal. Phew.

These sorts of massive year deals are becoming common ways for today’s managers to lock up key players. The length of Kovy’s deal with the Devils may be unprecedented, but the principle certainly isn’t. It’s a deal that makes sense in the long run for Lamoriello and his hockey club, too, because it enables them to kick him out in the latter years of the contract to smaller and smaller salary amounts.

Posted by Jordan Richardson.

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