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Monday July 19, 2010 10:55 pm

Ilya Kovalchuk re-signs with the New Jersey Devils




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Ilya KovalchukNow that Ilya Kovalchuk has finally made up his mind, the rest of the NHL can return to summer hours. After months of speculation of where this year’s top free agent would land, Kovy brought the discussion full-circle as he chose to stay in New Jersey, which is exactly where many thought he would end up when free agency opened up after the playoffs. Several teams tried their best to acquire the Russian-born scorer; most of them being the Los Angeles Kings; but in the end it was New Jersey who won.

What makes this deal a headliner is not the fact that the name on the dotted line is Kovalchuk’s. That was going to happen regardless. It’s that ESPN is reporting that the 27-year-old has signed a 17-year contract, worth over $100 million. Talk about a deal with the Devil. This comes after Kovy rejected 12 years for $101 million from Atlanta earlier this year, prompting his trade. The details of this new contract have yet to be released, but you have to think (and hope if you’re a Devils fan) that it’s a front-loaded deal.

Seventeen years is a ridiculous number, even for a guy half a decade younger than Kovalchuk. Still, it was no secret that he wanted a long-term deal, and he certainly got it. Now the Devils are committed to Kovalchuk for almost two decades. Now think about this scenario: The first round pick of the 2027 NHL Entry Draft hasn’t been born yet; but when he’s selected, Kovalchuk will still be playing for the Devils. That’s if they don’t buy him out by then.

Chances are New Jersey will get rid of Kovalchuk before the end of this contract. That’s pretty much the point of long-term deals. Load them at the front, pay the player most of what you promised, then buy him out and dump him when it’s convenient. Why Kovalchuk wanted such a fantastically long deal is anyone’s guess, but it’s a deal that will help keep New Jersey under the cap with a great player, and even if it doesn’t end up being the full 17, they’ve got an all-star scorer for years to come.

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