Kovalchuk to collect social security

Ilya Kovalchuk might not have been up for tenure, but he just found it. The New Jersey Devils signed the winger to a Rick DiPietro-like contract, locking him up for just under a score of years (17) for a bit more than $100 million.

The contract is more of a mortgage or a biblical bondage covenant than an employment agreement. When drawing this up, the Devils likely used amortization tables and the pages of the Wall Street Journal to calculate expected inflation from 30-year T-Bills.

As strange as such a contract may sound, it actually isn’t a bad deal for both sides. Even though he could have signed for more money per year under shorter terms, Kovalchuk can live like an incumbent politician in a safe district: as long as he doesn’t say anything too dumb and refuse to apologize or cheat on his wife multiple times and life about it, he’s going to collect a paycheck. Contract-year performance? Ha! All he needs to worry about is his 401K allocation.

The Devils are taking somewhat of a risk, but the contract is front loaded, freeing up cap space in the later years. Russian players are often like those canned goods in your nuclear shelter; they might not get appreciably better as the decades go by, but they aren’t going to get any worse (see Slava Fetisov). While inflation rates are a bit low right now, who knows, th eU.S. might appoint Robert Mugabe as the head of the Federal Reserve. And no matter how poorly Kovalchuk plays in the first 16 years, the Devils management can always adopt the Chicago Cubs mantra of “there’s always next year.”

Of course, this all could be a grand scheme employed by Islanders owner Charles Wang to make his DiPietro signing look slightly less insane. Only time will tell. Lots of time.

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1 Response to “Kovalchuk to collect social security”


  1. 1 Chris Ross July 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Love the post, really enjoyed the read. It’s amazing how the GM’s keep giving these massive contracts to players. I know you want the player but isn’t there a point where you think enough is enough. 17 years is unbelievable, I thought it was like a typo or something when I read it at first. These players are very good players, but as they get older it’s going to pose a problem as their play declines. Also, you think you could check out my article relating to this? I really want to hear your thoughts http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/note-to-nhl-gms-this-is-getting-out-of-hand/


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