It is fairly clear that Devils were aware of this possibility for a while. And I would not be surprised if the are fully on-board with this including the timing. Who knows, maybe they did not want the fan pressure of having to compete for high-priced free agents if Kovalchuk were to announce it one week earlier. And now they just going to sign some cheap guy fill open roster spot.
Who knows about the timing. It certainly doesn't seem ideal. But they clearly aren't fighting it, likely because it benefits them so much overall. They don't have to terminate his contract. They're choosing to.
1. Mutual (player and club agree) termination of an NHL contract not that unusual but usually involves lower-profile players.
2. If NJ had so chosen, it could've blocked Kovalchuk from the KHL by tolling contract. But NJ isn't doing that, he's free to go to KHL.
I'm shocked by this as well but does anybody else think its way too convenient that kovy bolts and the devils aren't fighting it. The devils are financially strapped, kovy still had 12 yrs left on his contract. Its just a little weird to me they aren't fighting this.
They aren't fighting it because ultimately it should help the franchise (if they use their new found cap space and money wisely).