New Jersey Devils dodge a bullet

The short-term sting of Kovalchuk's departure should be offset by long-term flexibility. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Ilya Kovalchuk's retirement may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but in time, the premature parting from the New Jersey Devils may turn out sweeter than it appears at first blush.

In the short term, many Devils fans will be lamenting the loss of their marquee offensive threat. The Devils, despite adding some offensive depth this summer through free agency, will likely continue to find themselves in the bottom half of the NHL firepower department (they finished 28th, 15th and 30th in goals scored over the past three seasons, and are losing a player who accounted for 16 percent of their offense over that span). However, there is a silver lining to this sudden turn of events in Newark. Millions of them, as a matter of fact.