Not if it's a circumvention of Article 50 they can't
The Hockey News: Campbell's Cuts: Campbell's Cuts: What Kovalchuk's rejected contract means to the NHL
But this much we know. The Devils can, and likely will, take another run at restructuring the deal so it meets the NHL’s standards.
I really don't see where the CBA says they can do this. Sure, after the ruling by the arbiter (assuming the NHLPA protests). But not before...
Listen, I get the fact that it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that the Devils would be allowed to do this. I just don't see anywhere in the CBA that says they can do this when it's a circumvention of Article 50, which this is, or that they can escape the minimum penalties required by the CBA if Bettman's rejection of the contract is upheld.
But what do I know? I've been wrong before.