It’s over. The Ilya Kovalchuk era has mercifully ended for the Los Angeles Kings, as Kovalchuk cleared waivers on Tuesday. The 36-year-old is now an unrestricted free agent.
So, would and should another NHL team see if they can make it work with Kovalchuk where the Kings failed? Let’s consider questions that are almost as tricky as Kovalchuk’s peak-era shot.
Kovalchuk unlikely to cost many bucks
Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko reports a few crucial points:
Kovalchuk is OK with a minimum salary, which makes sense since he’s made a ton of cash, albeit via a winding path.
Both Eronko and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicate that Kovalchuk would prefer to stay in the NHL.
That said, Eronko reports that Kovalchuk would like to sign with a contender, and Kovalchuk does have a “lucrative offer” from Omsk Avangard of the KHL.
For the most part, then, a Kovalchuk signing would be low-risk. It sounds like he’s sign a cheap deal, and wouldn’t cost the teams assets they’d lose in a trade. That said, there is some risk, as he’d stand as a 35+ contract.