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NHL Albatross Players

Ilya Kovalchuk
Photo: David E. Klutho/SI

Ilya Kovalchuk

New Jersey Devils

The free agent sniper's 15-year, $100 million deal with the Devils was frowned upon by the NHL, which voided the original 17-year, $102 million edition and hit New Jersey with a $3 million fine and the loss of two draft picks. It is a prime example of the kind of long-term, salary-cap-dodging, front-loaded, back-diving contracts (Kovalchuk was to be paid only $550,000 in each of its last five years) that the league has been fighting to prohibit in its next CBA. Clearly, locking up a player for a long time at a steep price can turn him into an albatross (click here) -- virtually untradeable and a constant headache in the cap era. Other notable examples follow.

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