Ilya Kovalchuk: NHLPA Files Grievance on Behalf of Hockey Star

Mike StainkampContributor IJuly 26, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - JULY 20:  Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils speaks with the media after announcing his contract renewal at the Prudential Center on July 20, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The mess that is Ilya Kovalchuk's contract situation has gone a step further. The NHL Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf Kovalchuk.

"The NHLPA has filed a grievance disputing the NHL's rejection of the Standard Player Contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk . Under the terms of the CBA, the NHLPA and Mr. Kovalchuk are entitled to an expedited resolution of this matter. The NHLPA will have no further comment until this matter has been resolved by an Arbitrator."

Two scenarios can play out for Kovy: The Arbitrator feels that the contract is good and he will be a Devil, or they follow the ruling of Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and reject the contract, making Kovalchuk a unrestricted free agent.

If he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the LA Kings and NY Islanders have shown interest in the 27-year-old Russian. SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League has also expressed interest. To begin this madness, Kovalchuk turned town a 12-year extension worth $101 million from the Atlanta Thrashers before he was traded last season to the Devils.

It will be interesting to see how this process plays out since the League approved numerous front-loaded contracts over the past few years. Marian Hossa , Chris Pronger , Henrik Zetterberg and Roberto Luongo all received long term, front-loaded contracts that were not rejected by the League office.