Where the high-scoring forward _ the biggest prize on the free agent market _ will land now is anyone’s guess.
Until then, Daly said “the player is not entitled to play under the contract.”
The union has a few days to decide if it will file a grievance to try to have this contract approved; Kovalchuk and the Devils could return to the bargaining table to work out a new deal; or the All-Star forward could go back into free agency and find a new home in the NHL or in his native Russia with the rival KHL.
The NHL wants to eliminate such “retirement contracts” and challenged this one after allowing others to stand.
Kovalchuk’s deal was likely rejected because he was slated to earn only $550,000 in each of the last five seasons of the contract that was to run through the 2026-27 season, when he would be 44. Kovalchuk was to earn $98.5 million in the first 11 years of the deal.
“We are extremely disappointed that the NHL has decided to reject the contract of Ilya Kovalchuk,” Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “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.”
“There is nothing that we have done wrong,” he said Tuesday. “This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.”
Based on provisions in the collective bargaining agreement between the players’ association and the league, the union has five business days to file a grievance on behalf of Kovalchuk. The deal would remain voided if no grievance is filed or if an arbitrator agrees that the contract is illegal.View Entire Story
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