Lamoriello and Kovalchuk - short term "marriage"?

The initial reports of the Devils handing Kovy a 17 year/$102mm contract had me shaking my head. It seemed so, well, so "un-Lamoriello-like". Know what I mean? It just didn't seem like something he would do - especially presuming that like most of these long-term 'relationships' - it was heavily front-loaded.

The early reports, indicating a very high salary for the first 8 years, dropping slightly for the next 2, and then radically dropping for the remainder (10/7.5/1mm respectively) were pretty consistent with other deals of this magnitude - but drawn out even longer to lessen the "pain" to $6mm on the cap hit side.

Then the real deal came out.

Fascinating, isn't it. And it's really been bugging the hell out of me.

"Why the hell would they have a 'reasonable' salary of only $6mm for the 1st 2 years?"

My "conspiracy theory" can be found after the jump.

The contract - courtesy of your friends at CAPGEEK.COM:

2010-2011 $6,000,000 $6,000,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2011-2012 $6,000,000 $6,000,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2012-2013 $11,500,000 $11,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2013-2014 $11,500,000 $11,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2014-2015 $11,500,000 $11,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2015-2016 $11,500,000 $11,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2016-2017 $11,500,000 $11,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2017-2018 $10,500,000 $10,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2018-2019 $8,500,000 $8,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2019-2020 $6,500,000 $6,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2020-2021 $3,500,000 $3,500,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2021-2022 $750,000 $750,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2022-2023 $550,000 $550,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2023-2024 $550,000 $550,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2024-2025 $550,000 $550,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2025-2026 $550,000 $550,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
2026-2027 $550,000 $550,000 NO DATA $6,000,000
KNOWN CLAUSES: NMC for 2010-11 through 2016-17; NTC for 2018-19 through 2026-27


I mean, I was really scratching my head. I couldn't imagine any kind of a 'total team player/personnel' limitation that would have been imposed only for 2 seasons. The Devils are paying off 2 buyouts (Pandolfo and Peters) - but that totals about $1mm and isn't even worth a second thought.

Now, you have to admit that Lamoriello has a history of "interesting" moves and contracts. He's a thinking man's GM - almost lawyer-like in his approach. He knows the ins-and-outs - maybe better than anyone. I refer to the several items "buried" in Item #3 in this blog post by Puck Daddy: Revelations about Kovalchuk...

And then, it hit me. Kind of like a freight train.

On June 22, the NHLPA exercised their right, under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, to extend the terms of that agreement for an additional year. Through the 2011-2012 season.

Wait - what are the first 2 "cheap salary years" of that contract? Oh yeah - 10/11 and 11/12.

Lou is gambling. Gambling that the Devils win a cup in the next 2 years. Gambling that he can figure out a way to retain Zach Parise for that 2011-12 season - since he's a Restricted FA next year.

And quite possibly, gambling that the next NHL/NHLPA CBA gives him the option of dumping one bad contract. I mean - hey - if you could get Kovy for 2 years @ 6mm per, and could maybe walk away from it, wouldn't you??

And come to think of it - maybe Glen Sather is gambling on the same thing - that if he pays Wade Redden for 2 years in Hartford, he'll get one bad contract he can dump. One "Get Out of Jail FREE" card every CBA - use it wisely !!

I just thought it was more fun to speculate about this than what the Rangers (pathetic) lines are going to be this coming fall....  ;-)

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