NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 30: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils controls the puck against Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins at the Prudential Center on March 30, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. The Bruins defeated the Devils 1-0 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
We already discussed Ilya Kovalchuk in detail here, with the wisdom of the crowd putting his value around $6.7M per year. As in, less than Patrick Marleau. Does that seem unbelievable? Hart Trophy voters have given Marleau 17 MVP votes to Kovalchuk's 6 over the last five season.
It's less than Mikko Koivu, too. Kovalchuk's value is suppressed because he's a one-dimensional player, and no one dimension can ever be worth that much. Koivu may not be half the offensive player Kovalchuk is, but he's very good at the 11-dimensional chess that Wild fans have come to expect from their captain.
The bottom line is that if Kovalchuk's contract is significantly larger or over more years than Koivu's, the Devils have made a mistake. They'll get 2-3 wins a year from having Kovalchuk on the roster, but they'll never get value from his spot.