Age, not money, the dividing line in Kovalchuk's nixed deal with New Jersey

Arbitrator Richard Bloch, now the most infamous man in New Jersey and the NHLPA, issued his own statement outlining his decision siding with the NHL against the NHLPA over Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract, voiding the deal.

In Bloch’s statement, the arbitrator says the Kovalchuk deal “is a retirement contract” and that it goes “well beyond the typical retirement age for NHL players.”

Until a full outline of the hearing and result gets released, if ever, we’ll be picking apart these words as to how they applied to the case. As it reads right now, Richard Bloch believes that players that have played hockey into their 40s are an extreme rarity. While there’s a handful of guys you could point to in the NHL right now that still play into their 40s and can play at an elite level (Nick Lidstrom, Mark Recchi, Mike Modano), Arbitrator Bloch is making the assumption that Ilya Kovalchuk will not be one of those players and that this contract was an outright sham because of it.

Thumbnail image for kovalchukandbrodeur.jpgHere’s to hoping that Kovalchuk pulls a Gordie Howe and plays until he’s into his 50s just to prove a point. That said, the logic on everything works out to be a bit wonky. The contract Kovalchuk signs is agreed upon under the assumption that he’ll play until he’s 44 with maybe a wink-and-a-nod that if he called it a career before then that would be all right. The deal is nixed under the assumption that Kovalchuk won’t be playing until he’s that old. Anyone following along with the logical disconnect here and able to draw up a conclusion that’s based in fact is either a judge or a lawyer.

It’s understood that this now-voided contract was a clear attempt to make Kovalchuk’s contract number easier to digest, The issue that comes into play here given that career length and age were used as a reason to turn this down, the line is apparently drawn at 44 years-old. Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract pays him until he’s 39 years-old. Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen’s contracts with the Red Wings will pay them until they’re 40. Marian Hossa’s deal with Chicago pays him until he’s 41, and Roberto Luongo’s deal with the Canucks pays him until he’s 42. If these are the parameters to be met for reaching a deal with a player, then re-designing a new long-term contract for Ilya Kovalchuk should be pretty simple, playing at 44 years-old is a no-no but being a goalie that plays until you’re 42 is apparently kosher.

With a dividing line that is seemingly that easy to draw up, getting a new long-term deal done should be relatively simple, but as we’ve seen with everything that’s involved Ilya Kovalchuk this summer, all is not as easy it appears.

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    Flames say there’s still ‘no real update’ on contract talks with RFA forwards Monahan, Gaudreau

    CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 7: Johnny Gaudreau #13 (L) of the Calgary Flames confers with his teammate Sean Monahan #23 during a break in play against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on January 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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    NHL training camps open in September and although most teams have done the bulk of their off-season tweaking, there’s still at least one team that has some serious work to do.

    The Calgary Flames are still working on signing forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to contract extensions. Both players are currently restricted free agents.

    “No real update there,” said general manager Brad Treliving, per the Calgary Herald.  “We’ll continue to work away at it.”

    The Flames have just under $15 million in cap space remaining, according to General Fanager. There’s a good chance both RFA forwards will take a deep bite into those remaining dollars.

    Monahan already said he’d be willing to take less money to get a deal done, but that doesn’t mean he’ll come cheap. The 21-year-old scored 58 goals and 125 points in 162 games over the last two seasons.

    As for Gaudreau, he’ll cost a pretty penny as well. The 22-year-old is coming off a season in which he scored 30 goals and 78 points in 79 games.

    Here’s an excerpt from the Herald regarding these two players:

    With 11 weeks until the regular season begins, here is what we know:

    • Both players are restricted free agents and received qualifying offers from the Flames earlier this month. Talks are ongoing.

    • Both are expected to receive whopping raises.

    • Both are seeking long-term contracts, expressing that they’d like to play together for the foreseeable future.

    • Both could be getting paid in the neighbourhood of between $6-million and $7.5-million for between six and eight years (if you use the com parables of Vladimir Tarasenko, Filip Forsberg, Seth Jones, Aleksander Barkov, and Nathan MacKinnon).

    Thankfully for Calgary, they’ve done a decent job of managing their roster and the cap. Gaudreau and Monahan are the only two players on the roster that still need new contracts. The rest of the team is locked up for at least one more year.

    Edmonton will have a captain by opening night, says McLellan

    Todd McLellan
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    After going without a captain last season, the Oilers will have someone wearing the “C” in 2016-17.

    “Will we have a captain? Yeah, we will,” head coach Todd McLellan said on Wednesday, per the Oilers’ website. “We will have a captain.”

    The last player to serve as captain in Edmonton was Andrew Ference, who inherited the position from Shawn Horcoff in ’13 and held it for two seasons.

    Last year, the veteran blueliner appeared in just six games, and underwent season-ending hip surgery. He was in no position to serve in the club’s leadership group and, ergo, the Oilers opted to play without a captain.

    So… who will be next to wear the “C?”

    Most are thinking about Connor McDavid. Though he’s not publicly campaigning for the role, the 19-year-old did say it would “be one of the greatest honors. ” Though he missed significant time to injury last year, McDavid still enthralled Oilers fans with a rookie campaign that saw him rack up 48 points in 45 games, finishing as a Calder Trophy finalist.

    Of course, there will be others in the mix.

    Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Matt Hendricks have all served as alternates in Edmonton, and Hendricks captained the U.S. at this year’s world championships. There’s definitely some leadership to choose from, and it’s worth noting Eberle is one of the most vested veterans in Edmonton, having appeared in 425 games over the last six seasons.

    Oilers’ Yakimov going back to KHL — this time, on loan

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Bogdan Yakimov #39 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on October 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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    Bogdan Yakimov is on his way back to Russia.

    On Wednesday, the Oilers announced they’ve loaned Yakimov to KHL club Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, the same team he joined after leaving AHL Bakersfield last season.

    The 83rd overall pick in 2013, Yakimov has appeared in one game for the Oilers since getting drafted. He’s spent almost all of his time in North America in the AHL, and didn’t impress the club last year when he bolted the farm team to return to his native land.

    “He made a career decision to return to Russia and I’m not sure how he played or how many games he played,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said at the time, per the Edmonton Sun (McLellan was then informed Yakimov was away for 11 games).

    “Well, that’s 11 games he didn’t spend with us. During his time away, there were a number of players recalled. I would have preferred to see him in an Oilers uniform and he was real close. Now he has to reset his Oiler clock and get playing again.”

    All told, Yakimov played in 36 games with the Condors last season, scoring five goals and 15 points.

    At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, Yakimov has impressive size and is still only 21 years old, so he’s got some value. But it remains to be seen whether he wants to try and push for an NHL career, or opt to stay in the KHL.

     

    Max is back: Lapierre to attend Rangers camp on PTO

    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 01: Maxim Lapierre #40 talks with Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins before a face-off during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on April 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    After a year abroad, Maxim Lapierre is getting a shot to rejoin the NHL.

    Per TVA, Lapierre has agreed to join the Rangers in training camp on a professional tryout. The news comes after he split last season between Swiss League outfit Lugano and Swedish League side Modo, with midseason rumblings there were NHL teams interested in bringing him back.

    In New York, Lapierre will be reunited with Alain Vigneault, his former head coach in Vancouver. Vigneault has brought in a few former Canucks during his time with the Rangers, including Tanner Glass, Nicklas Jensen and Michael Grabner.

    Lapierre, 31, last played in the NHL during the ’14-15 campaign, splitting time between Pittsburgh and St. Louis. A known agitator, he finished the year with 11 points in 80 games, and appeared in all five games of the Pens’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

    Prior to his time in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, “Yappy Lappy” played in Montreal, Anaheim and Vancouver. His best season came in 2008-09, when he scored a career-high 15 goals and 28 points, earning a handful of Selke votes.