The NHL made a decision today to reverse part of the ruling that cost the New Jersey Devils this year’s first round pick, a third round pick in 2011, and $3 million in penalties. The original ruling was regarding the cap circumvention that had to do with the original 17-year contract the Devils signed for former forward Ilya Kovalchuk.
The decision today gave them back that first round pick, which will automatically be the last pick in the round. They will also receive half the penalty money back ($1.5 million) as part of the deal.
This is obviously great news for the Devils, who were looking at a season that could come without a playoff berth and no first round pick to try to rebuild with.
Luckily, the Devils have rallied all season long and are still in the thick of the playoff race. They are currently two points out of the last playoff spot, and 2012 showed that as long as they are in, then they have a chance to “earn” the 30th pick in the draft. The team on the ice has recovered from losing the Russian sniper, and they have recovered off the ice as well.
The retirement of Kovalchuk this summer hit Devils fans like a ton of bricks. It hurt even worse when fans realized that they had a $250,000 reminder every year when looking at the cap hit. However, that doesn’t hurt as much now that the sanctions have been lifted.
Moving on is hard to do, especially in sports. It has been almost two years since Zach Parise left the Devils, but people still long for him to play in New Jersey. Kovalchuk is a newer wound, but with this ruling, the healing process can begin.
Many other teams are not happy with how this all went down, but that wasn’t what the Devils were going for. Josh Harris and the rest of the new ownership pushed to get the rulings reduced. As always, general manager Lou Lamoriello was mum on the details, but getting their pick back is nothing but good news.
This not only shows that the NHL made a decision on our side, but shows how good the new ownership is going to be in this organization. They are persistent to get exactly what they want, which is going to be good when the Devils go after a big name in the offseason.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can followhim on Twitter here.