If you thought LeBron James signing with the Miami Heat was a big deal, you might not be a hockey fan. The free agency craze isn’t just for basketball, and the biggest free agent in hockey just inked an unbelievable deal.
According to the Associated Press, in one of the highest dollar and longest contracts, in NHL history, the New Jersey Devils re-signed wing man Ilya Kovalchuk to an awe-inspiring 17 year deal worth $102 million.
Kovalchuk is 27 years old today, and if he plays out the entire contract, he’ll be 44 years old when it’s up. The deal is setup to where Kovalchuk will make $6 million a year for the next two years, then $11.5 million for the following five seasons, then steadily decreasing until the 2020-2021 season when he will play for $500,000 a year for the final five years of the deal.
The superstar has 338 goals and 304 assists in his first eight years in the league. With this deal, the New Jersey Devils will remain the favorite in the Atlantic Division, looking to win their third straight division title.
If the Devils can figure out a way to get passed the Philadelphia Flyers, who took them out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, they have a pretty good shot at winning a title with Kovalchuk inked to this long of a deal. Aside from a deal like this being unprecedented, it ensures that both Ilya, and the Devils are committed to winning a title.
New Jersey fans should be excited, a commitment to excellence like this doesn’t happen often, in fact, never before has a player been signed for such a long term deal.