There has been a lot of talk about the whole ordeal, whether or not this contract was really any worse than Marian Hossa's or Chris Pronger's. Here are Kovalchuk's thoughts on the contract situation. It seems for now that those three players, along with Roberto Luongo and Marc Savard, are safe from investigation for now. The loophole in the CBA was closed, but the issue will undoubtedly be brought up during the next negotiations. Scott Burnside of ESPN.com explains what this means for the salary cap hit:
More information about how this contract will affect the rest of the league can be found on NHL.com.
But what exactly will this mean for New Jersey?
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is either losing his touch or is more of a genius than anyone thought. My vote is on the latter. For nearly two decades, the centerpiece of the team has been Martin Brodeur who is only under contract for two more seasons. He will not be around forever and when he leaves, the Devils will need to find a new identity. They have been a defense first team since they won the Stanley Cup in 1995, but that foundation has slowly been eroding for a few years now. Nevermind that they led the league in goals in 2000-01, they have always won through defense.
The exodus began after the 2001-02 season when grinding center Bobby Holik crossed the river to New York. After each of the next two seasons, major components to their defense would play their last game in Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens respectively. Scott Niedermayer would leave to join his brother in Anaheim once the lockout ended. Underrated plugger Sergei Brylin left for the KHL two seasons ago. One of the top defensive duos in John Madden and Jay Pandolfo was broken up when Madden wasn't resigned after 2008-09. Pandolfo will not be back in New Jersey next season. Once Brodeur is gone, the Devils will need to be able to score goals if they want to win.
Enter Ilya Kovalchuk and his six consecutive seasons of at least 40 goals. He only had 10 in 27 games last season after being traded from Atlanta, a pace of 30 goals over 82 games. Should Lamoriello be able to sign Zach Parise long term too, the Devils should be able to roll out two scoring lines. Think about it, Parise had a down year and still scored 38 goals last season. He, along with Travis Zajac who is blossoming into a top points producer should form a formative duo for years to come. Jamie Langenbrunner is getting better with age and Patrick Elias should have a few more 60-70 point seasons in him. According to The Hockey News Yearbook, the Devils have a few strong offensive players waiting in the shadows. They include Mattias Tedenby from Jonkoping in Sweden and Adam Henrique who had 38 goals and 77 points in 54 games for Windsor in the OHL last season.
The Devils appear to be headed towards a new identity as a team, hopefully one that will actually bring fans to The Rock.