In what was becoming a never ending story, it appears as if the NHL and NHLPA have finally come to an agreement on Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract.
Rumors were swirling this morning that the NHL and NHLPA were working on an amendment to the rules within the Collective Bargaining Agreement that would allow for the Kovalchuk deal to be accepted, which is exactly what has transpired.
In a move that is unprecedented, it appears as if the NHL and NHLPA worked together to make the amendment to the rules that govern long term contracts.
Under the new rules, it is believed that several loopholes of the prior agreement have been closed, allowing Kovalchuk’s 15-year, $100 million deal to be accepted by league standards.
While this newest deal is for slightly less money than the 17-year, $102 million deal, there is no denying that Kovalchuk has emerged from the squabbles as one of the richest men in NHL history.
With both sides at odds for more than a month, the agreement is a breath of fresh air in what was quickly becoming an ugly showdown between the NHL, New Jersey Devils and NHLPA.
As much as Kovalchuk’s deals have been in the headlines, there have also been whispers that Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, Chris Pronger, Marian Hossa, and other player's contracts were under investigation by the NHL. It is believed that these “questionable deals” will now be grandfathered in and, as such, are legit deals and will no longer be challenged by the NHL.
As part of the negotiations, it appears as if the NHL and NHLPA have agreed that these questionable contracts will be the last of their kind, which seems like a pretty great deal for the teams that have gotten away with a questionable contract, don’t you think?
The perception is that the New Jersey Devils and others were given an exception by the NHL that has benefited both the teams in question and the players—something that is not likely to sit lightly with the GM’s who played by the rules.
The fact that the NHL and NHLPA have elected to switch gears and change the rules two years before the current CBA is set to be renegotiated is both curious and dangerous in my mind.
Could we see further amendments to the current and/or future CBA’s? What is the purpose of agreeing on a CBA if the president has been set to change it without consequence?
Savard's agent, Larry Kelly, suggested on Thursday that if the Savard contract was not accepted by the NHL that he would sue the league—something neither side really wanted.
The amendment gives NHL owners and general managers a template of sorts from which all new contracts will be draw from. The direction from the NHL will be welcomed by everyone involved, as it should clear up any misconceptions going forward.
With today’s 5 P.M. deadline having already passed, it is unknown if the two sides will be able to sign all the paperwork associated with the amendments and the contract. Details should emerge shortly.