The book has (finally) closed on the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, as the Russian winger elected to remain with the New Jersey Devils. Â This ends weeks of mind-numbing speculation and rumour-rehashing, including a recent explosion of news in the hockey world that had all signs pointing towards Los Angeles. Â Thus, while there will be some surprise that Kovalchuk did not head down south, the overwhelming feeling amongst hockey fans today will be relief. Â A side-effect of Kovalchuk’s prolonged decision-making has been the absolute cessation of any other hockey activity. Â The dam should finally burst as the remaining free agents and possible trades will now be explored further by the league’s general managers.
The contract will be an unheard-of 17 years in length. Â Kovalchuk will be 44 at the end of this deal, but as we are all well aware, the length is but a cap-saving ploy to reduce the annual cap hit on a deal that is worth over $100 million. Â Exact contract details are still hazy at this point, as ESPN is reporting a contract value closer to $150 million. Â The “reactionary moves” have already begun, as the Flyers have shipped out Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning.