According to multiple reports, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello knew the contract of Ilya Kovalchuk would be rejected before yesterday’s press conference.
The Devils were apparently notified Monday night, but felt comfortable going ahead with the press conference.
Lamoriello did not respond to the report, but believed the NHL was wrong for rejecting the contract.
“We are extremely disappointed that the NHL has decided to reject the contract of Ilya Kovalchuk,” Lamoriello said in a statement released by the team. ”The contract complies with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. We will have no further comment until the process outlined in the CBA is complete.”
The news coming from this situation continues to pour out. It’s a little odd to think that Lamoriello would go ahead with a press conference knowing the contract would be rejected the very next day. Apparently, according to these reports, that seems to be the case.
Where do the Devils go from here? Supposedly, the NHLPA is interviewing all parties involved in putting the contract together in order to determine whether to bring the case to arbitration. If the NHLPA decides to bring the case to arbitration, both the players association and the NHL would have to wait for an independent arbitrator to be hired and approved by both sides. That can possibly draw out the process.
Any way you slice it, I would bet the deal would be restructured to more closely match those of Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg and Chris Pronger. That would probably mean a larger cap hit per season and possibly a decrease in years. Either way, it seemed like Kovalchuk only wants to be a Devil, and the Devils seem more than willing to make any potential deal work.