A decision on the fate of Ilya Kovalchuk could be coming by the end of next week.
According to a TSN report Friday night, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have come to an agreement on the independent arbitrator who will rule on whether the 17-year contract Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils on July 19 should be allowed under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The hearing is expected to start as early as next week. Once it concludes, the arbitrator will rule within 48 hours, either upholding the rejection of the contract by the League -- which asserts it is a clear circumvention of the CBA -- or deciding it is valid.
Should the NHL win the case, Kovalchuk will once again be an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team.