The second (approved) Ilya Kovalchuk contract will cost the New Jersey Devils $100 million over 15 years, a $6.6 million annual cap hit and possibly a mid-level roster player, but the first failed one won’t be cheap either.
The Devils will sacrifice a first-round draft pick in one of the next four Entry Drafts as well as their third-round draft pick in 2011. The Devils will determine in which year between 2011 and 2014 they will surrender their first-round pick, and they are to advise the NHL the day after the Stanley Cup Final ends in that calendar year.
The NHL has also issued the Devils a fine of $3 million, but per the terms of the global settlement reached between the NHL and NHLPA earlier this month the Devils will not have to sacrifice any salary cap money.
So in other words, the fine will cost the Devils $3 million in real money but won’t have a cap impact, one first round draft pick in the next four years and a 2011 third round pick. The team will get a chance to gauge its needs (and the quality of that year’s draft) before deciding which year’s first rounder they want to give up. This could have an interesting impact on Devils in trading situations as they wouldn’t be able to trade away a first rounder in one of those four years.
The NHL is clearly making an example of the Devils, as this is a pretty heavy fine. It seems a bit unfair that they were singled out when there were other questionable contracts handed out, but Lou Lamoriello and Co. did go over-the-top with those terms. At least it didn’t hurt their already-challenged cap space, though.