And the NHL's biggest free agent remains a free agent.
Arbitrator Richard Bloch has ruled in favor of the NHL's favor and upheld the league's rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year $102 million contract. Kovalchuk orginally signed the contract July 19. The deal was scheduled to keep him in a Devils uniform until he was 44 years old. He would have had a salary cap hit of $6 million
Essentially, the league maintained the contract circumvented the salary cap.
Kovalchuk, the NHL's most coveted free agent this summer, remains free to sign with any team. The Kings have pursued Kovalchuk heavily as well as SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.
EN Says: It's obvious to anyone with a handful of brain cells that Kovalchuk was never going to fullfill the length of this contract. He would've likely retired late in the deal and the Devils would be off the hook.
We just don't understand how Bloch can kill this deal while the league had allowed similar contracts such as the one Henrik Zetterberg has with the Red Wings or Vincent Lecavalier with the Lightning. It's pretty clear those players aren't likely to fullfill the full length of their contracts which are scheduled to keep them with their teams into their 40s.
Either way, this is a big win for the NHL.
(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)