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Ilya Kovalchuk retires

July 11, 2013, by

In case you’re not on Twitter, Ilya Kovalchuk has announced his retirement from the NHL. Kovalchuk, 30, leaves 12 years and $77 million on the table from the Devils, who will have a $250k cap recapture penalty for the next 12 (!!) years, until 2024-2025. Signing Kovalchuk cost the Devils a first round pick (due to the circumvention issue), and probably cost them Zach Parise as well.

Categories : Around the League


  1. Spozo says:

    I’m confused why the cap hit is only 250K. I thought that the cap hit still counted after a player retires? Hence all the amnesty buyouts for the guys with rediculously long contracts?

    • Dave says:

      He retired before his big money years, which were in 16-17.

      • Spozo says:


        • The Suit says:

          Quite the loop hole they left in this CBA. A 250K hit for 77 million. Kinda bullshit.

          • VinceR says:

            It is a big loop hole, although the player has to agree that he doesn’t see another cent and the contract is void, which I don’t think would happen in a lot of cases.

          • Spozo says:

            So does that mean Kovy had this option in the mind the whole time he was a Devil? It sure is awfully convenient how it all worked out.

            If so can this also be considered cap circumvention? Or am I grasping at straws on that one.

            • Evan says:

              Kovy makes 55 million in the next 5 years I believe. The cap hit for the retirement would have been far worse if this happened in a couple of years. Worked out very well for both sides and Kovy going to make massive dollars in the KHL. Probably tax free too

              • Spozo says:

                The devils essentially bought out the rest of his contract without having to pay it

          • Walt says:

            He is retiring from NHL, signing with St Petersberg in KHL!! Kinda stinks to high heaven.

          • Dave says:

            They never paid his big money years. Unfortunately Capgeek doesn’t have the structure, but his big years –where his salary was $11m and his cap hit was $6.7m– didn’t hit yet.

            Recapture is about cap savings vs. actual salary paid.

  2. AD says:

    It also cost the NJD John Oduya.

    At the tim eof trade, there were unsubstantiated rumors the Devils organization was struggling financially and this trade was made, not only against the advice and decision of GM Lou Lamoriello, but to help sell tickets. The financial struggles proved true and became widely know within 18 months of the trade and, to this day, the team struggles financially. This contract may ultimately prove to be the final, major business decision which sealed the Devils’ fate for a future exit from New Jersey.

    • Dave says:

      They won’t be leaving NJ, they just built a brand new arena for them.

      Forgot about Oduya. Good point.

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Holy sh*t. It’s unprecedented walking away from that much money.

  4. Spozo says:

    So Lou had an idea this was going to happen. So he lets Clarkson go and then signs Clowe to an almost equally idiotic contracts that Clarkson got? What is this team doing? Not that I’m complaining of course!

  5. joe719 says:

    When Brodeur is traded at the deadline, you might as well turn out the light at the Rock. Parise, Clarkson, and now Kovalchuk all gone within 2 years. Amazing!!

    • AdamGravesIsTheMan says:

      Sorry but you CANNOT put Clarkson in the same category as Parise and Kovalchuk. He had a great start of the season and is a tough player who can put up some points, but he is NOT elite.

      As to your other point, I actually don’t think trading Marty would be the worst idea right now (although practically, I don’t see it happening). I’m not sure Marty at this stage of his career is that much of a better option than Schneider. I’m also not sure what type of haul Marty could bring in, but they need SOMEONE to fill in for Kovalchuk.

      On a different note, I agree it was a mistake to let Clarkson go and sign Clowe instead. Clowe has the greater proven scoring ability but his recent scoring woes and concussion issues are too large to ignore. Either way, while they are both valuable players, both those contracts are outrageous and I’m glad the Rangers stayed clear.

      • joe719 says:

        Nobody is putting Clarkson in the same class as Parise. What I’m saying is, to lose 3 such important players in the space of 2 years is mind boggling. It would be like losing Nash, Stepan, and Callahan; not in terms of stats, but rather in terms of the importance to the franchise.

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    It makes you appreciate the players you do have.

  7. joe719 says:

    I wonder if this could be the beginning of the end for Lou. I think if you look at there roster, a rebuild has begun. You think he has the desire to build it up again; in this era of the salary cap. Whatever, we have no excuses when playing them this year.

  8. Chris F says:

    Don’t the Devils still have to forfeit a first round pick for trying to circumvent contract rules with the Kovalchuck fiasco? Next draft was the final draft they had to do it by… that penalty is not going to he absolved now that Kovalchuck retires, is it?

  9. Tim B says:

    Few things
    1) It will be easier to defend the devils
    2) Devils firepower has decreased and the amount of wins also decreases.
    3) He kind of screwed the Devils over by retiring so early. And they had to get rid of alot of talent because of salary issues.
    Sad to see him retire but he did the Rangers a favor.

  10. Walt says:


    I’m not sorry to see him go at all.

    He saw the writing on the wall, no support, no other scoring, too many quality players jumping ship, why would anyone want to stay??

    That said, he can’t play in Russia now, can he?. Besides, who in their right mind would want to play in Newark, NJ, the town sucks!!

  11. Kris says:

    With no taxes or escrow Kovalchuk will make more money in the next 5 years then the life of his NHL contract. He can never play in the NHL though with the rule that all 30 teams have to agree for him to come back. Its a shame no one on this Devil team will play him at the Olympics cause that would be great to watch. I cant wait to hear Don Cherry’s take on this, its going to make Jeremy Roenick’s twitter rant sound like a church surmon. The worst part of this will be the 15 draft when the Devils get to draft Conner McDavid.

  12. neal says:

    Let me understand this correctly. According to the new CBA, if you back load a contract, you get hit with the full AAV of the contract against the cap. But if the player retires before the big money years hit, then the cap hit is nominal one like kovys?

    • Dave says:

      Depends on the structure. Kovy’s cap hit was in the $6.7m range, but his salary in his first few years was only in the $7-$8m range. His big years were coming up ($11m), but the Devils never paid him out.

      I think they only saved like $3m total over the three years, so take the $3m, divided by the remaining 12 years, and you get $250k.