Devils GM Lou Lamoriello goes back to the Ilya Kovalchuk contract drawing board

Thumbnail image for unhappyloopholelou.jpgThis probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but reports indicate that the New Jersey Devils are in the process of drawing up a new contract for Ilya Kovalchuk after an arbitrator sided with the NHL to void the 17-year, $102 million version.

Here’s more from general manager Lou Lamoriello via Rich Chere.

“While we do not currently have a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk, discussions have resumed and we are hopeful that a contract will be reached that meets with the principles in Arbitrator Bloch’s award and the NHL’s approval.”

If I were Lamoriello, I’d use the deals signed by Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg as a road map in drawing up an “acceptable” deal. We’ll wait and see if a new deal means a bigger cap hit for the already cap-challenged Devils, less money for Kovalchuk or … another disputed contract?

I wish this ordeal was over, but clearly, the Fat Contract Lady is on “mute” right now.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”