According to the New York Post, Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk will sign a seven year, $60 million dollar contract, which ends up being $8.6 million/ year.
The Devils now have top lines made up of Parise- Zajac – Langenbrunner and the newly formed “A” Line, if you may, with Kovalchuk- Arnott- Elias. They now have a defense ready to compete with new additions in Tallinder and Volchenkov. And, of course, the greatest goalie in hockey to backstop all of it, Martin Brodeur!
The deal is not as much as expected, but is of course very high. I suspect Lou found a taker for Zubrus (who will be bumped down to third line), Rolston (who may even be dumped down to fourth line), and maybe White (who may be dumped down to 3rd pair.) Jay Pandolfo will also likely be gone from the team. The Devils should have enough space to still sign Parise next year, so do not fret Devils fans.
UPDATE: The New York Post is now reporting the Devils have not reached a deal with Kovalchuk, but are saying the Devils are the favorites. Atlanta is apparently back in the mix. I still expect Kovalchuk to sign with the Devils, but I do not know for sure.
UPDATE (JULY 19, 2010): Kovalchuk agreed to a 17 year, and a bit more than 100 million dollar contract. This figures to be around 5.9 million per year. The contract is probably front loaded so he will make 10 million per year now but the cap hit will still be 5.9 million. At the end of the contract, he will not be making enough money to keep him interested in playing as he will make probably less than a million per year. Or the Devils can buy him out, which will be relatively cheap. So do not fear Devils fans!