Devils get first-round pick back in Kovalchuk penalty

The Sports NetworkMarch 6, 2014 

New York, NY ( - The National Hockey League announced Thursday that it has decided to modify the disciplinary sanctions originally imposed on the New Jersey Devils' franchise for circumventing the salary cap when the team signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year contract nearly four years ago.

The league decided to give the Devils the 30th overall selection in this year's upcoming draft, regardless of the club's final standing at the end of the season. In addition, New Jersey's fine has been partially reduced.

In July of 2010, the Devils agreed to terms with the then-free agent forward on a 17-year, $102 million deal. However, the contract was rejected by the NHL the next day on the grounds that it circumvented the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (the "CBA") then in effect.

The sanctions originally imposed on the Devils included a significant fine, the forfeiture of the team's third-round draft selection in 2011 (which was forfeited) and the forfeiture of a future first-round draft selection.

The NHL said in a release that the Devils recently applied to the league for reconsideration and relief from a portion of the original penalty, "citing primarily changes in circumstances which, in the club's view, changed the appropriateness of the sanctions initially imposed."

Kovalchuk retired from the NHL last summer and joined the Kontinental Hockey League.

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