Adrian Dater states that if the contract would go through the arbitration process, the league wouldn’t have much of a case against the Devils’ deal.
Indeed, at first glance it seems like the league has a wobbly case to have this hold up in court. Marian Hossa’s 12-year, $62.8 million deal with Chicago was approved last summer – and Hossa is slated to make $1 million, $1 million, $750,000 and $750,000 in the final four years of that deal. It’s no more believable that Hossa will play those final four years at that money than it is Kovalchuk would play the final seven years of his deal, at a total of $7 million.
So, based on Hossa’s deal alone, I can’t imagine an arbitrator siding with the league in the Kovalchuk case.
Dater writes that the situation probably won’t go that far, anyway, as the Devils could cut off a year or two and take a higher cap hit to appease the NHL. I must agree with that account, but it’s still worthwhile to explore the possible ins and outs.
The most “out there” possibility would involve the Kovy-spurned Kings getting back in the swing of things. Still, Rich Hammond asked the team if they’d get back into the mix in the far-fetched scenario that Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent again.
Dean Lombardi said tonight that the Kings would remain interested in signing Kovalchuk should the opportunity present itself, but it’s likely that the union will get involved and seek to uphold the deal.
OK, that’s all the Kovalcuk fun for tonight. We’ll keep an eye on things tomorrow, especially if the league makes an official statement regarding the rejection (or, dare I say, the lack thereof?).