The NHL today announced Thursday it modified the penalty for the Devils being found guilty of circumventing the salary cap on Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract in 2010. The Devils were due to surrender their first-round pick this year to complete the penalty. Instead, the Devils will pick 30th (last) in the first round of this year’s draft regardless of where they finish in the standings. As part of the ruling, the Devils cannot trade or transfer the pick, the league said in a press release announcing the modification. In addition, the NHL will return $1.5 million of the $3 million fine the Devils paid as part of the punishment for being ruled by an independent arbitrator to have circumvented the salary cap with Kovalchuk’s backloaded 17-year, $102 million contract. The NHL rejected that contract and the Devils eventually signed Kovalchuk to a 15-year, $100 million deal. Kovalchuk “retired” from the NHL and walked away from the final 12 seasons of that contract last summer.