After 18 days, after numerous rumors and buzz-- Ilya Kovalchuk re-signed with the New Jersey Devils, ending the longest and most gut-wrenching (good and bad) free agency saga in the NHL. Since we haven't seen a caliber player like Kovalchuk hit the free agent market, it's no surprise it took this long and took this many turns, the last one being the New Jersey Devils' Twitter Feed beating EVERYONE to the punch.
First, I CALLED THE DAY....though the team was wrong and the terms are yet to be announced, but don't doubt my dumb-luck, folks.
Second has to do with those unannounced terms (though some say 17 years) and what it means for the long-run. Greg Wyshynski said that in no way do the Devils risk putting Zach Parise signing long-term in jeopardy with an outrageous contract for Kovalchuk. And we all know that Lou Lamoriello does have a very keen sense to manage the salary cap to his liking and move around money without much of a hassle of getting caught up in any trouble. Maybe you should watch the transaction wires as the season draws close.
Also, as an aside, Ilya's agent (Jay Grossman) should be considered for the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey with Ilya, Anton Volchenkov, and Johan Hedberg-- all his clients-- playing on the same team. Now, Grossman doesn't have to make multiple trips to check up on some of his bigger named players.
Now, while many people said the Kings were the destination, the point was brought up that Ilya didn't want to play in the West Coast, which is understandable. In 55 games in Western Conference buildings, Kovalchuk has a normal 20 goals and 20 assists, which would be very shaky when trying to justify a big time contract, and maybe Ilya knew that and wanted to stay out East. Now, for the Kings-- they'll have to look elsewhere; maybe Simon Gagne going out there; but it's a good move for them not to risk the future for the superstar.
It's finally done, and I think that's all that matters. Now, we can see some other moves, some trades, some signings, and maybe focus more on the like of Mike Modano, Marty Turco, and others who may be out there and forgotten because of all of this mess.