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Holland 'Not Worried' About Kovalchuk Deal Affecting Red Wings

When Illya Kovalchuk signed a $102 million, 17-year deal last year, the NHL stepped in and vetoed it almost as soon as the ink was dry on the paper. The deal has caused a ruckus in many circles, with many wondering if the NHL's actions will affect other long-term deals.

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Red Wings GM Ken Holland is apparently not one of those people, as he voiced little concern that the Kovalchuk deal would question the legality of his own long-term contracts he handed to Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg last year.

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"They're legal under the CBA," Holland said of the behemoth deals. "It's a creative way of bringing cap number down. With Franzen and Zetterberg, their contracts end when they're around 39 or 40, and we've had lots of players who've played until then."

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Zetterberg and Franzen will both be 40 when their respective 12 and 11-year contracts expire. Both are heavily front-loaded, piling on most of the money in the early years while they are still in the prime of their careers, and tailing off at the end when they approach Chris Chelios territory. That strategy lessens the cap hit over time, giving teams more flexibility to sign other players.

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The big issue with the Kovalchuk deal is that he would have been 44 when it expired, not the longevity of the contract itself. Players rarely play until they are that age, but 40-years old is not unheard of, especially in the Red Wings organization. 

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