- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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NEWARK, N.J. -- As reported Tuesday, the Devils will retain their first-round pick in 2012 rather than forfeit the selection to the NHL as penalty for Ilya Kovalchuk's contract.
Kovalchuk's contract -- originally signed as a 17-year, $102 million pact two summers ago before being subsequently rejected -- was ruled a deal that circumvented the salary cap.
The Devils will still be forced to give up a first-round pick as penance for the contract, although they will not surrender this year's pick -- 29th overall. The Devils must sacrifice a first-round pick in either 2013 or 2014.
"We will pick," GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed.
Lamoriello would not explain why the team chose to keep the pick but said the decision was made "a while ago."
The Devils were also forced to pay a $3 million fine and give up a third-rounder in 2011 as penalty for the Kovalchuk contract.