The deal was struck in 1995 to help prevent the team from moving to Nashville, as is stated in the article, as is stated in the article. It was after the shortened 1994-95 season. So it is not as if they parties involved, the Devils, the NHL and the State of New Jersey had no idea that a work stoppage could take place.
What is funny is that the Bergen Record (the original source for the TSN article) had another article about the Devils on Wednseday, October 7. It was about the Newark arena.
Here is an excerpt:
"It's a done deal," said Councilman Augusto Amador, an arena opponent who represents the East Ward. Amador's ward could house the Devils' new home as soon as the fall of 2007.
I read this and laugh because it doesn't affect the Devils in the slightest. The bargain was struck so the Devils would stay in NJ instead of moving to Nashville. However, shortly afterwards the Devils sold the credit they would get each year to Credit Lyonnaise in France - so the French company gets the 3M per year, the Devils got the total lump sum immediately after signing the deal. The contract (and money) doesn't even matter to NJ anymore. We don't get it.