In a surprising move, the NHL reinstated the Devils' 2014 first-round draft pick this morning. The Devils will pick 30th overall in the 2014 draft. What? No, really. Here's the necessary information from the NHL website:
The New Jersey Devils will now be entitled to the 30th selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft (the last pick in the first round), regardless of the Devils' final standing following the 2013/14 season.
The Club will not be permitted to trade or transfer its right to the 30th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.
The Club's fine has been partially reduced.
The League intends to have no further comment on this matter.
In a surprising move, the league reinstated the Devils' 2014 first round draft pick this morning. What? No, really. Here's the amendment to the penalty, per the NHL website:
This is the pick that was to be taken as part of the Kovalchuk cap-circumvention saga. The original penalty forced the team to give up a third-round pick in 2011, a first-round pick in any of the 2011-2014 drafts and to pay $3 million in fines. According to Darren Dreger, half of the original $3 million penalty has been forgiven (for those of you doing the math at home, that means the team gets a cool $1.5 million back).
According to the official release, the Devils applied to the league for reconsideration of the penalty following Ilya Kovalchuk's "retirement" this summer, "citing primarily changes in circumstances which, in the Club's view, changed the appropriateness of the sanctions initially imposed." Yeah, Kovalchuk.
If you want to thank someone, thank Josh Harris and the Devils' new ownership:
Lamoriello: "No question we're pleased. Our new ownership put in an appeal. It was new ownership that did this."— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) March 6, 2014
Understandably other teams are a little miffed that the league would relent on its punishment. Some perhaps might think that the league is doing the Devils' new ownership a solid:
All kinds of reax from NHL teams to the Devils story. Some accusing NHL of doing new ownership a favour....— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 6, 2014
Whatever the case, this is pretty great news for Devils fans. Looks like Lou's decision to not forfeit the pick turned out to be a good one after all. What do you think? Are you surprised by this decision? Do you think Kovalchuk's "retirement" merited this decision? Thanks for reading, and OH, SWEET GOODNESS WE HAVE A FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK THIS YEAR.