More on Kovalchuk’s Contract

Published by patrick honner on

kovalchuk 2The National Hockey League has approved the new contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk.  As discussed in an earlier post, the NHL voided the initial contract between the two parties, essentially on the grounds that it violated the spirit of the league’s salary cap rules.

The Devils originally signed Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract.  By the NHL’s salary cap rules, this would have counted as 102/17 = 6 million dollars per year against the team’s salary cap (their yearly spending limit on players).

However, it was fairly clear from the structure of the deal that neither side expected the final five years to be played out.  Kovalchuk was to earn the league minimum for those five years, and he would have been in his 40s.  So the league viewed this really as a 12-year, $98 million dollar deal, which should count 8 million dollars plus per year against the team’s cap.

Through clever accounting, the team had created an extra $2 million per year in financial flexibility, but the league saw the matter differently.  The league, team, and player eventually compromised on a 15-year, $100 million deal (a 6.67 million dollar cap hit), and some changes have been made to the league’s salary cap policy so problems like this won’t arise in the future.  Until the next loophole is discovered, anyway

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


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