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Kovalchuk agrees to 17-year deal with Devils
Question of the Day
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Unlike the NBA’s LeBron James, the biggest prize on the NHL free agent market isn’t moving.
Kovalchuk’s agent and the team announced on Monday that the high-scoring left wing has agreed to stay with New Jersey, ending weeks of speculation where the league’s leading goal scorer since 2001 would be skating next season.
“This was a long arduous process that has taken frankly a little longer than I thought,” agent Jay Grossman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “But you know what, nothing is worth anything unless you work for it. I can tell you he is very happy to be with the New Jersey Devils.”
The deal is somewhat salary-cap friendly for the Devils, who will absorb an annual hit of $6 million _ the average amount per season. However, Kovalchuk will remain on the books through the 2026-27 season.
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.
The final decision came down to the Kings and the three-time Stanley Cup champion Devils, who haven’t won a title since 2003.
“This was so far complex that I don’t want to get into those questions,” Grossman said. “Obviously his goal is to win the Stanley Cup. If he didn’t think there was an opportunity to do that, then he would not have gone there.”
James disappointed Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans earlier this month when he signed with the Miami Heat for a chance to chase an NBA title with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Devils‘ only major loss in free agency was defenseman Paul Martin, who went to the Atlantic Division-rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
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