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Kovalchuk's 17-Year Contract Called A Mockery Of Salary Cap Rules

The long-standing drama of where Ilya Kovalchuk was going to sign ended Monday when the winger decided to remain with the Devils. Now the focus shifts to the front-loaded 17-year contract that will keep him there.

On the off-chance that Kovalchuk should play out the contract, he would be 44 years old when it expires. Of course, he would earn the vast majority of the $102 million included in the deal in the first 11 seasons.

SB Nation blog On the Forecheck says the contract is emblematic of a problem that needs to be addressed in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The blog offers its own two-pronged solution to correct the loophole.

Quite simply, it's pathetic to see the big-market teams driving truckloads of cash through this loophole in the CBA, and both the NHL and NHLPA need to address this as part of their upcoming negotiations. For the league, it makes a joke out of the competitive balance aspect of the salary cap, and for the players at large, it's taking money out of their pockets.

In case you're wondering, here's how the contract is structured year-by-year, courtesy of The Star-Ledger.

2010-11: $6 million
2011-12: $6 million
2012-13: $11.5 million
2013-14: $11.5 million
2014-15: $11.5 million
2015-16: $11.5 million
2016-17: $11.5 million
2017-18: $10.5 million
2018-19: $8.5 million
2019-20: $6.5 million
2020-21: $3.5 Million
2021-22: $750,000
2022-23: $550,000
2023-24: $550,000
2024-25: $550,000
2025-26: $550,000
2026-27: $550,000