It took until almost 3 AM Saturday for the NHL to announce that they had signed, sealed and delivered the final paperwork, capping off an agreement between the League and the NHLPA that results in new CBA rules governing long-term contracts, as well as the approval of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract.
Kovalchuk is officially a Devil and the CBA has now been altered. Investigations into other questionable long-term contracts, including those of Roberto Luongo, Chris Pronger, Marian Hossa and Marc Savard, have been tossed aside.
Dan Rosen of NHL.com, who had a late night last night, explained the changes in the CBA.
1. While players and clubs can continue to negotiate long-term contracts (five years or longer) that include contract years in a player's 40s, for purposes of salary-cap calculation the contract will effectively be cut off in the year of the contract in which the player turns 41.
2. In any long-term contract that averages more than $5.75 million for the three highest-compensation seasons, the cap charge will be a minimum of $1 million for every season in which the player is 36-39 years of age. That $1 million value will then be used to determine the salary cap hit for the entire contract. If the contract takes the player into his 40s, the previous rule goes into effect.
The whole goal here is to stop teams from gaining the benefits of the "diveback" years at the end of the contract, which artificially lower the cap hit over the term of the deal. The changes last until the current CBA expires in September 2012.
The Kovy saga is over, but things aren't completely over for the Devils. They still need to get under the salary cap.
While Lou Lamoriello got what he wanted, the next challenge is now. He's got about a month to clear off $2,698,333 from the salary cap. Mind you, he actually needs to clear up more than that so whoever departs can be replaced by another player - be it a prospect or a minimum-salary signing. If you must know who I think the Devils should try and trade, then please read this post. It may be from July, but the principles are still the same.
ILWT also has a whole timeline this entire thing, starting with July 1. That's a good capper to this whole thing.