From the Free Press:
"They're legal under the CBA. It's a creative way of bringing cap number down. With Franzen and Zetterberg, their contracts end when they're around 39 or 40, and we've had lots of players who've played until then. It's a way to deal with his cap number. Z is at 6.083. At the end of his career, when he's not quite the $6 million player, it'll have evened out. For the first six, seven, eight years of those two deals, we feel pretty good about the deals we got."--Ken Holland
If I've said it once - I've said a dozen times...the Kovalchuk is not comparable to the Zetterberg/Franzen deals. Sure, all three contracts are over a decade long, but that's about where the similarities end (unless you want to get into the minutia - they're both for money, to play hockey. etc.). Bottom line, there is a world of difference between a Cap hit of $6 million for a guy who is 39 or 40, and a Cap hit of $6 million for a guy who is 43 or 44.
Just look at Nick Lidstrom, he's getting paid over $6 million at age 40 and he's worth every penny. Now look at the group of 44 year-olds playing in the NHL right now
There is absolutely no way that either the Devils nor Kovalchuk have the slightest inclination that he is going to honor the length of this contract. And if they say they do, then they're a lying liar and you can say that to their face should you be given the chance.
But did they break any rules? Does it say anywhere in the CBA that they couldn't do what they did? I don't know - I'm not a scholar on the matter.
But Ken Holland structured his career-length contracts to expire at a reasonable date for which a player would retire. Lou Lamoriello decided to try and save a few dollars Cap-hit wise by stretching out Kovy's contract to an almost practical joke length.
And now we have more sitting and waiting to do....thanks, Lou.