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NHL to reverse circumvention penalty, give back Devils' first-round draft pick

The New Jersey Devils have received back their first round draft pick, after the NHL took it away as part of their Ilya Kovalchuk cap circumvention penalty in 2010.
The New Jersey Devils have received back their first round draft pick, after the NHL took it away as part of their Ilya Kovalchuk cap circumvention penalty in 2010.
Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images

Whatever it is that New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has on the league, it must be juicy.

On Thursday afternoon, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that the NHL would reverse a penalty slapped on the Devils in 2010 for what the league believed to be circumvention of the salary cap, on former NHL star Ilya Kovakchuk's contract.

According to the league's website, part of the modification includes the stipulation that, unlike other draft picks, the Devils will not be able to trade or transfer their pick to another organization. Also mentioned is that regardless of where the Devils land at the end of the season, they will be given the 30th overall pick.

The Devils have already surrendered a third-round pick in 2011, paid a $3 million fine for the Kovalchuk contract and were to give up one first-round pick within the four seasons following the issuance of the penalty.

Lamoriello's decision to hold onto the Devils late first-round pick after a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012 left him on the receiving end of much criticism. Today, Devils' fans are praising the long-time GM for holding out.

Kovalchuk retired from the NHL in the summer of 2013, booking it to Russia to re-join SKA Saint Petersburg where he played previously during the last NHL lockout. He finished his NHL career as a point-per-game player, racking up 417 goals and 399 assists in 816 games.