The Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk still seem to be sitting on the sidelines and playing the waiting game. It would appear that the Devils are waiting for the NHLPA to make a move regarding Kovalchuk’s contract. That move is something that could happen today or drag out through the weekend. The Devils have up until Monday to renegotiate a new deal with Kovalchuk, something Lou has said they aren’t doing, or allow the NHLPA to file a grievance and send the matter to an independent arbitrator.
Obviously waiting to find out what happens with Kovalchuk’s contract is holding up the Devils from shedding contracts in order to get under the cap, since we don’t quite know what the cap hit WILL be once the Devils do have Kovalchuk signed to a legal contract that is recognized by the NHL. It’s important to note that Kovalchuk is still contractually linked to the Devils, even though that contract is not considered legal by the NHL. He is not a UFA and is not free to speak with other teams about a contract. If Kovalchuk wanted that, he could easily have that by not having the NHLPA file.
I don’t expect much to change today and probably not much to change over the weekend but I do figure Monday we will get news that the NHLPA has filed a grievence against the NHL on the behalf of Kovalchuk and the Devils.
While this whole Kovalchuk situation plays on, the Devils are inching closer to an arbitration hearing with defenseman Mark Fraser. His hearing is scheduled for next Friday and the Devils are working trying to avoid that hearing. Should be interesting to see what NJ does with Fraser. I don’t know how he fits into the picture or what kind of demand he has around the NHL. I don’t think an arbitrator will award Fraser a high number so if he wants to stay in NJ, maybe he should work something out before next Friday.