Ilya Kovalchuk's rejected contract: So what happens next?

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Thumbnail image for ilyakovalchuk6.jpgBy this time, you should probably be aware that the NHL reportedly rejected Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million deal with the Devils. (If not, read about it here. I’ll wait. *crosses arms, looks at watch*)

While the league hasn’t made an official announcement on it yet, it seems like the Kovalchuk saga will continue yet again. I’m not sure if it should be compared to a seemingly invulnerable slasher movie killer like Freddy Krueger or something a bit more benign like a “Terminator” T-1000. Whichever lazy movie reference you’d like to attach to the situation, it’s obvious that the drama/agony is far from over.

Many on Twitter and other venues are asking: what’s next?

Though I tend to write about salary cap scenarios quite frequently, I’m no expert on the ins-and-outs of contract rejections/grievances so here are a few “expert” accounts of what should come next via Twitter. (I’d recommend following CapGeek’s Tweets in particular. If all the details don’t turn your brain to tapioca pudding, that is.)

First, here’s a quick take from Nick Kypreos.

PA has 5 days to file grievance. Then league/PA must find independent arbitrator that’s mutually agreed upon. Root canal sounds more fun!

TSN’s James Duthie explains the consequences of a potential arbitration.

If grieved, arbitration is binding. If arb. rules in favour of NHL, he is supposed to fix deal so it “conforms to the requirements” of CBA.

(Darren Dreger added that the deal would be “dead” if the NHL player’s association filed a grievance “until an arbitrator decides otherwise.”)

John Shannon reports that the contract could either be changed or a grievance could be filed within five days. Cap Geek says that a resolution could be reached within three days in a best case scenario while the worst case scenario would see the deal settled within 15 days. (Ugh.)

Kyle “Spector” Richardson provides a broader explanation of the next possible steps.

So now it’s up to either the Devils to restructure & re-file the contract or the PA to grieve it on Kovalchuk’s behalf.

Again, it’s important to note that the NHL hasn’t made an official announcement on the deal being rejected, although that might be a formality at this point. Who knows? This might just be a lot of mildly entertaining banter over a technicality or two, but the two sides could indeed go through an ugly and rare arbitration process. We’ll keep you up to date with everything from the rumors to the solid facts as this situation goes along.

My guess is that Gary Bettman and Lou Lamoriello might not be getting Christmas cards from each other this December, though.

‘There’s still lots of room for growth’: Stars GM preaches patience with Nichushkin

Valeri Nichushkin
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Valeri Nichushkin has the tools — listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 205 pounds with devastating speed. He has the skill.

However, now at the end of his entry-level contract, the 10th overall draft pick for the Dallas Stars in 2013 has endured the highs and lows associated with a young player trying to make his mark in the National Hockey League after a promising rookie campaign.

For starters, his sophomore 2014-15 season was essentially wiped out — he played only eight games for the Stars — by a hip injury that required surgery. He also didn’t get off to the greatest start this season, and coming back from surgery likely played a factor as to why, as he found his way into Lindy Ruff’s doghouse early on.

As a result, was made a healthy scratch.

His bottom line offensive numbers included nine goals and 29 points in 79 games played, and one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, as they were eliminated in the second round.

Still, he’s just 21 years old. When playing with top players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, he was able to get on a bit of a roll offensively.

Stars GM Jim Nill, speaking on SiriusXMNHL, referenced the difficulty for a young player coming back off surgery, but remains confident in Nichushkin.

“We’re happy with Val,” he said (at around the 5:30 mark).

“Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that. We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.

“He is only 21. I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him. We think he’s a big part of our future.”

 

Coyotes hire new COO

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Jets defeated the Coyotes 6-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired Anaheim Ducks executive Ari Segal as chief operating officer.

The move was announced by the team on Wednesday.

Segal previously served as a special assistant to Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and as president of business operations for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Segal helped with preparations for the new AHL club and recently worked with the NHL in the league’s broadcast media strategy group, evaluating league and team broadcast rights and distribution deals.

Segal previously worked as an associate in the sports practice at McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm.

Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction,’ and that’s an understatement

Jackets re-sign Sedlak, AHL affiliate’s leading playoff scorer

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20:  Lukas Sedlak #85 of the Columbus Blue Jackets waits for the pass during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on September 20, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 5-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.

Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.

“Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”

Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.

Despite Canadian dollar, Bettman still expects ‘revenue increase’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers a question during a news conference before the NHL All-Star hockey game skills competition, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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The Canadian dollar is trading at around $0.77 USD today. While that’s up considerably from where it was a few months ago, the damage has already been done to NHL revenues.

“If the Canadian dollar was still at par, we would be $100 or 200 million higher perhaps than we may find ourselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg Television today.

Having said that, Bettman still expects there will be a “revenue increase” compared to last year, adding that “we continue to grow year after year and set new records.”

More from Bloomberg:

Bettman said that while the NHL’s revenue growth has come across the entire business, the league has seen its biggest boon in its digital platform. The league last year signed a six-year, $1.2 billion contract with Major League Baseball’s interactive media and Internet arm, or BAM, to operate the its digital operations, streaming services and TV network. The NHL got a 10 percent stake as part the deal.

The NHL playoffs are currently in the middle of the conference finals. The NHL’s fiscal year ends June 30.

League revenues, of course, have a direct impact on the salary cap, and let’s face it, that’s the only thing most fans care about.

As of March, the cap was expected to grow from $71.4 million in 2015-16 to $74 million next season.

However, that projection assumed the NHLPA would accept the CBA’s standard five percent growth factor, and with escrow topping the list of player concerns, that’s no given.

The players’ association will discuss and make a decision on the growth factor at some point before July 1.

Related: Bowman noncommittal on Shaw and Bickell, needs to know salary cap first