Should The Blackhawks Pull A Kovalchuk With Hossa?

By Joe Kremel

Kovalchuk is moving back to Russia and will end up much richer than he would have staying with the Devils. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As off season news dwindled down to arguments about stepping on logos, Kovalchuk came in and saved the day.  After signing a 15 year contract for 100 million, the Russian winger calls it quits only three years into it.  Kovalchuk officially signed the retirement forms and will be heading back to Russia at the ripe old age of 30.  No official word yet on the reasons for this surprising news.  The theories and rumors are already popping up.  Some claim he was having a family crisis.  Others are looking at Lou Lamoriello with suspicion.

Lou Factor:  He is one of the main reasons for the need to close off the contract loopholes and for the length restrictions on contracts.  If there is anyone that could find a way to get out of a long term contract, it’s Lou.  The Devils are looking at a 300k cap hit, which is a savings of 6.6 million a year.  If this is a cap dump scheme, then the Devils now have some room to work and pick up some depth players.

Russia: It’s been announced by the KHL that Kovalchuk will be playing for SKA St. Petersburgh.  If you were wondering why he would leave 77 million on the table it’s because he will be getting paid 15-20 million a year to play in the KHL.  He will be literally rolling in cash for however long his contract is.  The only question left is how much of that cash will be on the books and how much will be under the table.

Hossa: This brings us back to the compliance buyout for the Blackhawks.  Some thought the Hawks were going to use it for the Hossa contract.  Obviously Hossa is still on the team, so what options do the Hawks have with him?  They can do one of three things.  First, let him play out his contract.  Second, trade him if you can find someone that will take on his cap hit.  Or the final option… pull a Kovalchuk.  The latter isn’t as easy as it was for Kovalchuk.  The longer it takes for Hossa to retire, the higher the cap hit will be.  If he retires next year, he leaves the Hawks with a 1.875 mill cap hit, and that jumps up to 2.65 million if he retires in 2015.  If he waits till 2017, the cap hit jumps to 4.275 million a season, which is rather useless when his cap hit would only be an extra million for him to hang around.  The Hawks most likely will keep him around, not just for his direct impact on the ice, but also for his ability to mentor the younger members of the team.  What do you think the Hawks should do?