Could the Boston Bruins be the front-runners for Russian free agent and former NHL superstar Ilya Kovalchuk? Evidently, the Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson thinks so.
As reported by NBC Sports, Anderson appeared on Toucher & Rich on 98.5 and said he believes the Bruins are currently the leading candidates to get the 35-year-old winger due to the Bruins cap space. While the Bruins are listed by CapFriendly as having just $6.5MM in available cap space, the team has few free agents of their own to deal with and a loaded roster, including multiple talented veterans such as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and a core of youth of which many had solid rookie years last season.
Kovalchuk, who tallied 31 goals for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL has been touring NHL cities, looking for a new home. While his preference has been to stay on the East Coast, especially either New York or Florida, he’s broadened his search this year including a trip to Los Angeles and San Jose as he’s made it clear that he wants to win a Stanley Cup as soon as possible.
- Kevin McGran of The Star interviewed Mitch Marner about multiple topics, but the 21-year-old star said that there has been no discussion yet with management about a potential contract extension. The fourth-overall pick from the 2015 draft will be eligible for a contract extension on July 1 along with teammate Auston Matthews, but there is no word on whether Marner will sign an extension this year or will have to wait until next year. “Nothing has been said yet, but nothing you can do,” said Marner. “If nothing happens, you still have a year to play under your rookie contract. Just go out there and try to prove you can make the team better.”
- While the New York Rangers are looking for defense, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that veteran defenseman Brendan Smith has stayed in New York following the season and has been working with fitness trainer with Ben Prentiss to get into better shape. Smith, who was placed on waivers on Feb. 9, after signing a four-year, $17.4MM contract in the offseason, came into camp out of shape and struggled on the Rangers’ blueline all season long. The scribe writes that the Rangers not only expect him to compete for a job at training camp, but they expect him to return to the status of the player they handed that contract to.
- Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press writes she believes it looks promising that 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen makes the Detroit Red Wings team out of training camp this year. The ninth-overall pick last year put up 31 goals and 58 points for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and even got some time at the wing position during the season because Detroit would likely like for him to start at the wing if he makes the team next season. What’s more impressive is that he scored 16 goals and 33 points in just 14 playoff games, suggesting he might be ready for Detroit. If he doesn’t make the team, he will have to return for one more year to Tri-City.