Its too late for them to do that IMO. They let everyone else have their long contract's and some with a history of getting injured. If they try to do something about his contract then they would have to do something about every one of these 10+ year contracts.
Not really. The league can reject (or nullify at a later time, even if the deal is initially approved) any contract deemed to be a circumvention of the cap. But there isn't any specific definition of what constitutes circumvention. There is this, Section 26.13 (b) from the CBA:
The System Arbitrator may find a Circumvention has occurred based on
direct or circumstantial evidence, including without limitation, evidence that an SPC or
any provision of an SPC cannot reasonably be explained in the absence of conduct
prohibited by this Article 26. The investigation and findings of the Investigator pursuant
to Section 26.10 shall be fully admissible in any proceeding before the System Arbitrator
under this Section 26.13.
That would seem to provide all the latitude necessary for the league to decide that a 17-year deal for a player who would be 44 at its conclusion can not be explained reasonably without considering it an attempt to avoid the Upper Limit, and/or an unwritten agreement (both of which are specifically prohibited). A line has to be drawn somewhere. Exactly where is somewhat arbitrary. Could be length of the deal, degree of front-loading, age of the player, etc.
There's nothing that specifically prevents 50 or 60 year deals either, but I think we'd all agree that offering a player a contract until they're 84 would be a clear case of circumvention. 84 is just an arbitrary number, there isn't any absolute guarantee that Kovy couldn't play that long. In all the history of the NHL there have been only 7 fewer 84 year-olds as there have been 44 year-olds. Pretty small difference, relatively speaking. No matter where the arbitrary number is (if age was the factor) there would be a line where age X is ok, but age X+1 isn't. They could easily, just for the sake of simplicity, say 43 is far enough.
I don't have a problem with this at all. Detroit utilized it with two of their players. I don't see why people would be bothered by this when Holland's done it as well.
It's a matter of degrees. See my 50-60 year example above. Also look at the effect of the 'garbage' years. All three deal are structured similar. Front loaded to pay out over 95% of the salary in the first 11, 10, and 9 years respectively for Kovy, Hank, and Mule. Coincidentally, that is when all three players turn 38. After that, all three see their salary drop to $1 million or less.
For Franzen and Zetterberg, each has two years at $1M, reducing their cap hits by around $650k for Frazen, and slightly over $1M for Hank. Kovy has 6 years paying a total of $3.5M, reducing his cap hit by nearly $3 million!
That said, I wouldn't really care if they did nullify our deal, provided we get a period of exclusivity in which to renegotiate. If it meant stopping the nonsense I'd be ok with it. If they let this one go, what are they going to do next year when Parise gets the 22 year deal NJ would need in order to afford him.
Who cares if it's a loop hole? The team is still taking a gamble. What if Kovy wants to play till he's 44 to get every dollar but he sucks after he's 37, he's eating up a lot of cap space at that point. Stop being so bitter, it's NJ's problem not ours.
There's really not that much risk. If he starts to suck, NJ could just send him to the minors. He'd already have 95% of the salary, so he probably wouldn't care and would just go to Russia anyway, but even if he didn't NJ is still off the hook for the cap hit.