Ilya Kovalchuk's summer saga may not be over yet.
Several news outlets, including TSN, The Record and Newark Star-Ledger are reporting Tuesday night that the National Hockey League has rejected the historic 17-year, $102 million contract Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils "on the grounds that it circumvents the NHL's salary cap," TSN's story says.
Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has been called the best player to hit the market in the post-work stoppage era. He's reportedly set to earn $95 million over the first 10 years of the contract and only $7 million over the final seven, including a salary of $550,000 per season over the final five years of the deal.
The same reports say Kovalchuk will earn $11.5 million per season from 2012-17, but because of the final seven years of the deal the annual cap hit is $6 million. The 17-year deal is the longest contract in NHL history.
Tom Gulitti of The Record wrote on his blog, Fire & Ice, that Devils CEO/President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello refused comment when reached tonight and majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek was unaware the contract had been rejected by the NHL.
Kovalchuk's signing was introduced in a press conference at Prudential Center on Tuesday afternoon. Kovalchuk, Lamoriello, Vanderbeek and coach John MacLean were all in attendance. So, too, were teammates Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl