Tuesday: Kovalchuk has cleared unconditional waivers according to LeBrun, meaning he’ll now see his contract terminated and become an unrestricted free agent. Igor Eronko of Sport-Express reports that Kovalchuk wants to join an NHL contender and is willing to take the minimum salary of $700K. The Boston Bruins, who were one of the teams that pursued Kovalchuk when he was returning from the KHL, are said to have some interest.
Monday: Now that his final signing bonus chunk has been paid, Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to leave the Los Angeles Kings, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. The veteran forward would then be in breach of his contract, leading to a termination. That series of events would not remove the $6.25MM cap hit from the Kings’ books for this year or next, but would mean they don’t have to pay him the rest of his $700K salary this season, or the $4.25MM due in 2020-21. As LeBrun explains, a termination would leave him an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any other NHL team.
Kovalchuk, 36, was removed from the Kings’ lineup more than a month ago and has played in just 17 games this season. Once a brilliant goal scorer and one of the elite offensive weapons in the NHL, he has just 19 goals and 43 points in 81 games since returning from the KHL in 2018. Those totals have come along with a -36 rating and poor defensive play, though could now still drive interest around the league as a potential mid-season addition.
Given that he has already earned a huge portion of the three-year, $18.75MM deal he signed with the Kings in 2018, Kovalchuk could potentially sign a much more inexpensive contract for the rest of this season. As a powerplay option and scoring threat on a cheap deal, he could provide some excess value to a contender this year.
It is important to note that the KHL has also made a significant push to bring Kovalchuk back to Russia, though it has been reported that he wishes to stay in the NHL if possible.
With all the young Russian’s the Rangers will bringing up ,I can see NY as a landing spot
Krejci still needs a winger if they’re going to refuse to keep Coyle there…
The Wild should go for it, that way kaprizov has a familiar face on the roster when he makes his way over next year
He needs to go back to Russia. He is too slow.
…for a team that respects him more
Would he had counted against the cap if he didn’t sign the deal as a 35+ player?
No. A termination would remove the cap hit entirely in normal circumstances. Kovalchuk’s hit will remain because it is a 35+ contract, the same way it would for a buyout or retirement.
Just waiting for those people who said it was a good signing…. that Stevens just wasn’t using him correctly…. that the front office knows what they’re doing…. that they are not in for a lengthy rebuild, they are just “retooling” …..
@Kwflanne – you and I were some of the most vocal about this ill-advised debacle. Even watching him at the Olympics with the O.A.R. should have been the red flag (no pun intended) for *all* NHL GMs, let alone us Barcalonger Boyz. If he really wants to keep playing, it should only be in the KHL. Roster spots and cap hits can’t be wasted on a guy whose best years are behind him. If he is seen in high regard by younger Russian players, maybe a “consultant/translator” role with an NHL team could be in his future, just not as a player.
Of course they are rebuilding and the front office does know what they are doing. Name a bad move they have made other than Kovalchuk. You cant because it doesn’t exist.
@amk3510 – not speaking for @Kwflanne, but as both of us have stated previously, some of the “bad moves” can be dropped on Dean Lombardi. Those will be costly for awhile…
Name a bad move, it doesn’t exist? LMAO!!!! Are you for real? Take your pick!
Im talking with Rob Blake as GM. Not Dean. So go ahead enlighten me. Other than Kovy whats a bad move?
Winter in Colorado
Hiring John Stevens was the mistake. He was there too long and held NOBODY accountable. The culture was already crap and JS made it worse
On ice move. They found the right coach now anyways.
I have never said Robby Blake has had numerous bad signings – just Kovalchuk. That one was a doozy, though. Lombardi’s to blame for much of the mess, Robby just inherited the tire fire. Unfortunately, he has to try and cut through this Gordian Knot with kiddie scissors. Not enlightenment so much as clarity…
@Winter in Colorado — That statement is loaded with truth. Stevens doesn’t seem to have the right stuff to be a top-flight bench boss.
@amk3510 a lot of his bad moves, come from a lack of moves. The goal of the front office should be to identify team needs, assess where the team is at, and build from there. Blake and company actually believed this roster could be competitive….. which….. for a lot of us watching at home who saw how slow, how lacking in skill, how the defense was sliding, etc…. knew well that this team was far off from being a real competitor. So, to answer your question, the signing of Kovalchuk. The extension of doughty. Not trading quick, when your system is deep in goaltending…. and now quicks value is absolutely down the crapper. The muzzin trade was a loss, the only player from the leafs to show for the kings in that trade….. hasn’t looked good at all. Extending kempe…. for what purpose? Until this offseason, rob blake and company have been treating the roster as if it was championship caliber….. if they really believed that about this team, that’s a very serious issue with roster assessment and talent evaluation.
Wow this is just bad. 1st of all yes they did try and compete last year but pivoted when it was clear they stunk so that’s a ridiculous point. Doughty extension was bad? Lol the dude is a perennial top D man in the sport but sure keeping him really sucks. Terrible move. There were plenty of runors that they tried to trade Quick last year but he didn’t have much value then either. You might be the only person on earth who doesn’t think the Kings won the Muzzin trade. Go look at how Leafs fans think of that trade. You say they should be selling, yet claim a trade that gets you a 1st and two prospects is a bad move. Kempe extension really? Dude got a minuscule cap hit. The Kings had the most barren farm system forever and under just 2 years of Blake they have propelled to one of the best. He has done a good job as GM.
It is too early to judge the Muzzin trade. Leaf fans complain about everything.
They have been rebuilding since 2015, however this regime has only publicly claimed to be rebuilding as of trade deadline period in 2019! There have been no quality trades or acquisitions since the Blake Regime began!
Hard to know if he’s got nothing left or if his poor play was a result of being on a bad team. I guess he’s worth looking at for a contender.
Guy really likes to screw teams he signs with, huh?
Winter in Colorado
LA can easily eat the cap hit. They are rebuilding. They have no upcoming free agents to sign. They won’t be in the big name UFA summer signings. That roster turnover should’ve started in 2016 after missing the playoffs. THE Sekera trade, the Lucic trade, the Bishop trade, all disasters that fall on Lombardi, tho Blake was the Assistant GM then. Hiring Stevens was the mistake, the culture didn’t change. Willie was a nightmare, not all his fault. TMac is a good choice to move forward. This is life in the salary cap era. At least we won two cups with our overpriced core.
Excellent points with Cups won, but at minimum Blake has proven nothing as yet! The team is as bad off overall as the original 1967 Expansion team! I was at opening inaugural game in Long Beach 10/24/67 myself..I see it too clearly! A 35 yr Season Tix holder now no more!
That was Franchise game #1 on 10/14/67 a 4-2 win over Philly Flyers! GWG= Bob Wall!
He left a lump of coal under the Los Angeles Kings Christmas Tree !
Kovy came to LA 10 yrs too late! My all time favorite Mgr in Hockey Mr Lou Lamoriello was not to be out done by Lombardi. Blake paid for a Ghost! Will be paying for it awhile yet in setting back the Franchise! Bravo!
legends of boston sports
Bruins no risk huge reward. Put him with Krejci and Debrusk second power play see where it goes