Why Couldn’t You Just Be Honest, Ilya Kovalchuk?

Corey Griffin

Ilya Kovalchuk finally arrived as Devils camp yesterday and needless to say, he is soooooo happy to be back in the NHL. The KHL? Those brown paper bags filled with off-the-books bookoo bucks? What?! He never wanted to stay there! He doesn’t know where you guys are getting that from.

Look, I haven’t been bothered by this story from the outset. I understood the whole political wrangling of it all — the KHL asking Ilya and the rest of “The Russian 4” (Datsyuk, Ovechkin, Malkin) to help their native league make a statement to the big, bad NHL. Then there’s the allure of playing at home, in front your family and friends and the fact that the KHL can pay him a lot more than the NHL can — on the books and otherwise.

But then Kovy decided to go and play dumb today at the Prudential Center and that got me all sorts of riled up. It’s just all so damn disingenuous and ridiculous.

Follow me after the jump for a trip down the Russian rabbit hole…

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MUST READ: Why Travis Zajac’s Deal Is A Good One For The Devils

I was planning on writing a long piece outlining the pros and cons of Travis Zajac’s new deal and how it affects the Devils and their cap structure going forward, but then I read this piece from the always fantastic blog In Lou We Trust and I realized I would be speaking vain. I very much believe in giving credit where credit is due and this, sir, deserves a lot of credit. READ


BREAKING: Devils Sign Travis Zajac To Long-Term Extension

Lou Lamoriello dropped a nice little bomb on Devils Nation after the first period of today’s scrimmage.

More as we know it…

UPDATE: Lamoriello says the Devils started working on the extension with Zajac before the lockout and finished it this week.

As for the terms, the always tight-lipped GM had this short retort:

UPDATE 2: Pierre LeBrun reports extension is for eight years (new max under the the CBA) and $46 million with an average of $5.75 million.

UPDATE 3: According to LeBrun, the contract contains a no-trade clause, meaning Zajac will be in Jersey (hypothetically speaking) for the next nine seasons.

The year-by-year salary breakdown follows:

Follow after the jump for the official team release…

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Via the Devils’ official YouTube account:


Watch: Lamoriello On Travis Zajac’s New Contract

Kovalchuk Saga: I Don’t WANT To Come Back, But I Will

It appears the Ilya Kovalchuk standoff is slowly drawing to its inevitable conclusion. The Russian winger finally addressed the issue after playing for SKA St. Petersburg and wasn’t shy about who he would rather play for.

Via Tom Gulitti of The Record:

“I want to stay in St. Petersburg but I have contractual obligations in the NHL, which will be hard to break,” Kovalchuk told Sport-Express in Russia, according to the sports daily’s U.S. correspondent, Slava Malamud.

Malamud later clarified that Kovalchuk was speaking about remaining with SKA St. Petersburg for the remainder of this season and then returning to the Devils in the fall.

“Right now, I can’t imagine how (my staying in the KHL) can be arranged… But I don’t know anything yet,” Kovalchuk said.

Regardless of whether Kovy wants to stay for the season or for his career, the transfer agreement between the NHL and the KHL won’t allow it. With 13 years left on that 15-year, $100 contract he signed with New Jersey, Ilya had best get used to playing on foreign soil. We’ll have more on this whole saga over the weekend, but it will be very interesting to see how Kovy is treated at home games this season.


Discuss: Will Parise Really Go Somewhere Else?

The latest bit on the Zach Parise ordeal is that although money is going to be a factor in where he plays next season he really wants to play for a team that has a shot of winning a Stanley Cup.

If you were to ask me in the beginning of the season if the Devils were a Stanley Cup team I would have said ‘absolutely not’ but as the season as gone on the Devils have had their fair share of ups and downs. Now if they continue to play how they have played in the last 18 games, during which they have gone 12-5-1, they could be a huge threat in the playoffs. If the Devils can make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs that maybe all the convincing Parise needs to stay with the club. That will ensure that the Devils can be contenders for years to come with emerging players like Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson.

Now Parise is not going to be the only one helping the team make run in the playoffs but he has a good mix of youth (Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson) and experience (Patrik Elias and Anton Volchenkov) in the lineup. This team has the opportunity to help Parise lead this team because lets face it this is Parise’s team. He is the captain, the face. Unless he goes somewhere else this will be his team.

But as the years go on the older players like Elias and Brodeur will not long be able to play. A sad day that will be but it is going to happen. With the way Lou Lamoriello has built this team in the past was through the farm system and I think he has made a lot of smart moves to where the younger guys in the minors will someday be able to come in a fill the void. IE Kinkaid for Brodeur.

Now with a current Devils’ squad that is qualified to make a run in the playoffs this year and years to come thanks to the great farm system that Lou has built. Winning in New Jersey is a very possible goal should Parise stay and lead this team. The only issue remaining is money. If Zach gives the Devils a little home town discount I’m pretty sure its safe to say he would sign in the $7 million range just because he has established himself with this team and he is the go to guy. He may not get that anywhere else that also has a shot of winning a Cup. I think the Devils can find another million to add on to Parise current 1 year $6 million deal.

I maybe complete wrong but I think Parise has all the right reasons to stay in New Jersey. He could get the money he deserves along with ability to win now and in the future. I don’t think he is going to go any where else. He is here to stay  in New Jersey.