The Kovalchuk Suitors …
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN: Pierre LeBrun and other ESPN pundits believe that Kovalchuk may have as many as eight teams on his radar. The New York Islanders were thought to have interest but that does not appear so. So, who’s left?
The New York Rangers create buzz because it is New York. Kovalchuk would be able to mentor young players while providing that puck rushing ability and power play shot. Boston makes sense because Kovalchuk’s one timer and shot would be an upgrade over Rick Nash. Los Angeles and San Jose have power plays that can use a boost at times. Dallas and Columbus have close Russian ties. After that, it is anyone’s guess.
Sharks and that Kovalchuk Connection …
Kevin Kurz: The San Jose Sharks met on Monday with Ilya Kovalchuk, but how does he fit into their offseason plans?
Consider that Peter DeBoer plays unofficial assistant general manager here. DeBoer fed Kovalchuk a ton of ice time in New jersey (up to 25 minutes a night at times). The wing is light on scorers in San Jose and adding Kovalchuk gives the Sharks two higher scoring flanks. The 35 year old forward expects to see top six ice time with more time on the power play. DeBoer and Kovalchuk go back to their New Jersey days and it was a good match.
Kovalchuk’s picking process, eyes Stanley Cup …
Craig Custance of The Athletic suggests that Kovalchuk’s willingness to become more of a team player speaks volumes. Also, it adds destinations that some may have discounted. Dmirti Yushkevich noted:
“He (became) more of a team player, playing in Russia and playing in SKA. That’s always high demands. That situation teach him to be more of a team player…that’s why he becomes captain.”
Kovalchuk, at 35, desires a last run or two at Lord Stanley’s Cup. Any deal would likely be a two or three year deal. Also, the dollars would fall at Patrick Marleau level ($6.25 million AAV) or below. 25-30 goals is a real possibility for the Russian winger. Watch for Dallas as a dark horse while the New York Rangers remain high on the list. The California teams carry intrigue as well. Kovalchuk expects to take his time.