Although I will love to see the Rangers in cap hell, it still doesn't make it any better in my opinion. The NHL turned a blind eye while Pronger, Luongo, DePietro and 1/2 of the Red Wings roster were signed to these deals. Then, when the Devils do it with Kovy, we get slapped with a huge penalty and they change the contract requirements to prevent these deals from happening again. After all is said and done, they then put in this provision as part of an entirely new CBA which penalizes teams now and in the future despite the fact that they did nothing wrong months and/or years ago while working within the terms of the last CBA and had all of these contracts blessed and approved by the league. These contracts should have been grandfathered in since the league didn't have the stones to stand up to anyone besides the Devils to stop them when they were occurring.
Pronger's contract is a 35+. The Flyers are being bailed out by him being unable to play, otherwise they would have a dead cap hit at the end of it. Could the league have won on Luongo or Hossa? Maybe, but it's awfully hard to say that a player won't play for a million dollars - plenty of players near the end of their careers have played for similar amounts (including Daniel Alfredsson this year, for instance). I doubt it could have won on the Red Wings' deals. It definitely won on the Devils deal - and with the minimum salary going up by the end of this CBA, the $550,000 years at the end are revealed to be more of a sham. Had the Devils structured the money better, they would have gotten Kovalchuk signed to the original deal - if they'd taken a million from each year and spread it around at the end, they might've gotten away with it. And that's what they did in the 2nd contract, and that's why the NHL bent - the Devils had them over a barrel.
The league never fully approved the Luongo and Pronger contracts until the NHL and NHLPA negotiated new rules to deal with long contracts.
I wonder how it works if the Devils loan a player like Kovy to a KHL team down the road (in the last few years of his contract) whereby the KHL team agrees to pickup the remainder of his deal.
The Devils have a 5.76M cap charge under this scenario.