mobile armchair-gm faq about Twitter Twitter


What's the Ilya Kovalchuk rule?

Any long-term contract — five years or more — that extends beyond the age of 40 (as of June 30 prior to the season in question) will have its traditional cap hit adjusted.

ADJUSTMENT A

For years of the contract up to and including the age of 40, the cap hit is calculated by dividing the total salary for those years by the number of years up to and including the 40-year-old season. For years of the contract ages 41 and beyond, the cap hit in each year is equal to the actual salary paid for that season.

Example: Zdeno Chara signed a seven-year, $45.5-million deal starting in 2011 (age 34) and running through 2018 (age 41). Because he earns a $4 million salary at age 41, his 2017-18 cap hit is $4 million. For all other seasons, his cap hit is $6,916,667, with his $41.5 million in remaining salary divided over six years.

Zdeno Chara's contract details
ADJUSTMENT B

For a contract that includes years in which the player is aged 36 through 40 (inclusive), and which averages to $5.75 million or more for the three highest compensation seasons, the minimum single-year amount used for calculating the cap hit for ages 36 through 40 will be a minimum of $1 million.

Example: Player B age 34 signs a seven-year, $25.6-million contract starting in 2011-12 and ending at age 40 (2017-18). The cap hits are as follows:

2011-12 (age 34): $6m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2012-13 (age 35): $6m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2013-14 (age 36): $5.25m salary ----------- $3.75m cap hit
2014-15 (age 37): $5m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2015-16 (age 38): $2m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2016-17 (age 39): $750,000 salary --------- $3.75m cap hit
2017-18 (age 40): $600,000 salary --------- $3.75m cap hit

Note: In the above example, the contract averages to exactly $5.75 million for the three highest compensation seasons, 2011-12 through 2013-14. As a result, $1 million is used in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively, to calculate the cap hit, not the listed salaries of $750,000 and $600,000.

Blended example: Following is a blended example of Adjustment A and B. Player C age 34 signs a nine-year contract in 2011-12 and ending at age 42 (2019-20). The cap hits are as follows:

2011-12 (age 34): $6m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2012-13 (age 35): $6m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2013-14 (age 36): $5.25m salary ----------- $3.75m cap hit
2014-15 (age 37): $5m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2015-16 (age 38): $2m salary -------------- $3.75m cap hit
2016-17 (age 39): $750,000 salary --------- $3.75m cap hit
2017-18 (age 40): $600,000 salary --------- $3.75m cap hit
2018-19 (age 41): $600,000 salary --------- $600,000 cap hit
2019-20 (age 42): $575,000 salary --------- $575,000 cap hit

Note: In the above example, the contract averages to exactly $5.75 million for the three highest compensation seasons, 2011-12 through 2013-14. As a result, $1 million is used in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively, to calculate the cap hit, not the listed salaries of $750,000 and $600,000. In addition, because the player is age 41 and 42 in the contract's final two years, those seasons are ignored for the calculation of the cap hit from 2011-12 through 2017-18. The cap hits for 2018-19 and 2019-20 match the player's salary.

The rules came into place on Sept. 4, 2010, in an attempt to cut down on long-term contracts deemed to circumvent the cap. It did not affect any long-term contracts signed prior to that date. The amendment was a direct response to the New Jersey Devils' signing of Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102-million contract that was rejected by the NHL on July 21, 2010, for circumventing the cap. The deal was later restructured.