The Kovalchuk Problem, Part 3: The NeverEnding Story

Part 3: The NeverEnding Story
The third installment in this series is supposed to be the last, as in any traditional multi-part story, so I’ve been waiting to see how everything would play out, but since I have no idea when that will be I’ve decided to roll the dice and release part 3. Honestly, I don’t think anybody knows when this could end, or if it ever will. Hence Falcor.

Anyway, here are some basic facts:

  • The final offer from Atlanta (before last season’s trade deadline) was 12 years, $101 million. Capt hit of $8.42 million per year. Rejected by Kovalchuk.
  • The final offer from the Kings was 15 years, $80 million in total. Cap hit of $5.33 million per year. Rejected by Kovalchuk. (Apparently it was 13 which would be $6.15 cap hit- thanks to Sydor25)
  • The final offer from New Jersey was 17 years, $102 million in total. Cap hit of $6 million per year. Accepted by Kovalchuk.
  • The day after the signing was announced, the contract was then rejected- by the League.
  • Arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the NHL’s voiding of the contract as a circumvention of the salary cap, making Kovalchuk a free agent once again.

Lou Lamoriello, after stating initially at the signing announcement, “This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these,” Was quoted after the rejection stating, “The contract complies with the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

League officials simply decided to put their foot down on this contract, marking it crossing the circumvention line, however blurry and confusing it is.

Sure, an argument could be made that other contracts could be approached or even danced on the line, but there were not nearly as blatant, and if the Kovalchuk contract was allowed, what’s to stop the trend from getting worse?

One frightening aspect is where this leads the situation for the CBA re-negotiation in two years is rather frightening, especially with the rumored involvement/interest of MLB strike orchestrator Donald Fehr and the NHLPA.

The entire ordeal reminds me of a completely real situation that I went through recently…

I bought a great house a few years ago. Sweet piece of land and the building had a lot of potential. I put a lot of years of hard labor into it and now, I am sure that it is in better shape than ever.

I’ve really wanted to see what I could get for it and try to cash in and based on what some people have paid for similar houses in the last couple years, I think it’s achievable.

I got a few bites but nothing that I was willing to work with. Unfortunately it’s just not the best time. Nobody is willing to take a risk on high priced real estate right now I guess. I think it’s worth what I am asking for it if not MORE, but nothing was happening at that price.

Now that it’s been some time and it’s still on the market, I don’t know what to do. I can only hold out for so long before I need the money.

Should I lower my price even though I feel what I’m asking for is worth the work and money I’ve put in?Does the market value dictate what the house is actually worth?

The basic principles of real estate and free market economics would say that it does. No one can dispute that.

There are more variables in the situation than just making comparisons to other properties. The economy, the interest rates, and the situation in the surrounding neighborhood and local community. All of these things fluctuate and they all affect what a house can be sold for.

The financial value of a professional athlete to a franchise is no different. When millions of dollars are at stake, simple statistics on paper just aren’t going to produce a satisfactory result.

Yes. Ilya Kovalchuk is perhaps the most significant free agent in the history of the modern NHL, based on his age and ability. That cannot be contested.

My house was in tip top shape, newly remodeled and overlooking the ocean; that doesn’t mean anyone could afford it even if they wanted to.

It’s August, and not only is Kovalchuk still a free agent, he has now been so twice this summer, each for over a week. I guess he has been technically a free agent the whole time, but for at least a few days everyone thought he was a member of the New Jersey Devils.

Sergei Gonchar was only a free agent for approximately 15 minutes.


For starters, Gonchar wasn’t looking for a double-digit duration contract. Coupling the multi-million dollar figure with many, many years- over a DECADE in Kovalchuk’s situation- makes it a risky investment, however sound it may look on paper.

At this point, the most likely scenario is for Kovalchuk to take a one year deal somewhere and try this thing all over again next summer.

And there upon a rainbow, is the answer to our neverending story.

◊ Reed Kaufman

Post Script:
The best thing to come out of this so far has been the discovery of the music video for the theme song from The NeverEnding Story:

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3 Responses to “The Kovalchuk Problem, Part 3: The NeverEnding Story”
  1. Sydor25 says:

    Lombardi’s offer was $80 million/13 years. He confirmed on an interview with The Fan 590.

  2. LH says:

    Its a double rainbow all the way across the sky. What does it mean?

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