Monday, July 19, 2010

Devils Sign Kovalchuk For $100+ Million and 17 Years

Giving a totally new meaning and redesigning to the sports cliche terminology "albatross contract" is the news that the heavily sought after NHL free agent Ilya Kovalchuk has decided to stay with the New Jersey Devils.

Two weeks after the Free Agent signing session had opened, Kovalchuk created a windfall of speculation and drama as to where he would play next season, for how long, and for the volleying back and forth to tease the Los Angeles Kings fans with hope that they might actually make the playoffs next year by signing the winger.
Kovalchuk will earn $6 million each of the next two seasons, $11.5 million for the following five seasons, $10.5 million in the 2017-18 season, $8.5 million for the 2018-19 season, $6.5 million in 2019-20, $3.5 million in 2020-21, $750,000 the following season, and $550,000 for the final five years of the unprecedented deal.
And so that is how the devil is in the details for someone who's career resume has shown a wealth of talent, but absolutely little playoff post-season experience. And this is the underlining sticking point with this player signing. What exactly are you getting for 100 million dollars? Granted, Kovalchuk has been anchoring some weak teams on a struggling expansion team in Atlanta, but if he was truly that good, why doesn't he have the ability to dominate and carry a team on his back?

I thought the whole point of the lockout was to do away with crazy and improbable contracts. This 17 year deal makes the DiPietro NY Islanders pioneering 10 year signing look like a sound investment. What happens when Ilya discovers that the "borg mentality" of a defensive oriented team philosophy is hindering his 50 goals a year potential - is he going to demand a trade? And who exactly would be able to take on that contract once he leaves New Jersey? His options would be extremely limited.

Not without a new CBA lifting the ban on renegotiation of player contracts.

Another terrible precedent is what exactly this does for future contract negotiations. What will recent Stanley Cup champions Toews, Kane, Crosby, or Malkin demand knowing they all have the bling of the Stanley Cup rings. Are they all worth $200 million for 27 years?

[Via: Rogers Sportsnet]
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