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Added July 20th, 2010 by Chalk

Kovalchuk Sells Soul To Devils, Kevin Smith Approves

Hockey’s most coveted free agent, 27-year-old goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk, has chosen to remain in the swamps of New Jersey and sign what may be the longest standard player contract in NHL history.  The 17-year, $102 million deal is still under review with the NHL, but would pay Kovalchuk $6 million next season, as much as $11.5 million in some seasons and less than a million in the final seven seasons — with the structure and length of the deal softening the annual salary cap hit the Devils will face.

The Kings and Islanders were also said to be interested, as was the KHL in Kovalchuk’s native Russia.  Kovalchuk had also turned down offers of 7 years/$70M and 12 years/$102M to stay in Atlanta before he was traded to New Jersey last season.  That looks like Kovalchuk sees New Jersey as his best chance to win, because no one could actually like living in New Jersey.

The only famous Devils fan, filmmaker Kevin Smith, was thrilled with the deal.  Some of Smith’s tweets:

  • MAKE IT FOUR [Stanley Cup titles], MOTHERF*******! 1995, 2000, 2003, 2011. Thank you, Jeff & Lou! #CupRun2011
  • “Via @PdcD “You feel slighted that Kovy really wanted to go to LA but settled on NJ?” You’ve seen my wife, right? Settling rules! #GiftHorses

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