As expected, the NHLPA filed a grievance against the NHL on the part of Ilya Kovalchuk, who had his 17-year, $102 million contract rejected by the NHL July 20.

The NHLPA announced the decision in a statement this afternoon.

“The NHLPA has filed a grievance disputing the NHL’s rejection of the Standard Player Contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk,” NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon wrote in the statement. “Under the terms of the CBA, the NHLPA and Mr. Kovalchuk are entitled to an expedited resolution of this matter. The NHLPA will have no further comment until this matter has been resolved by an arbitrator.”

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly responded to the NHLPA’s statement.

“We have received formal notice that the NHLPA is grieving the league’s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract with the New Jersey Devils,” Daly said in the statement.  ”Although there is no defined timetable at this point, we intend to work with the players’ association to ensure an expeditious resolution of this dispute.  The league looks forward to the opportunity to establish its position before the arbitrator.  We will have no further public comment pending completion of the process.”

The next step will be for both the league and the player’s association to find a “systems” arbitrator to rule on the case. The arbitrator will have 48 hours to decide whether to uphold the NHL’s rejection or deny it.