On Ilya Kovalchuk and the Toronto Maple Leafs …
Chris Nichols of FRS Hockey: Darren Dreger was on TSN 1050 talking about 35-year old free agent Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk is able to meet with teams now and visited the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks over the weekend. Teams remain skeptical of him.
Dreger was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs would have any interest and Dreger said he’d be surprised if they have a whole lot. They could be more realistic as to where they are as a team in relation to being a legit Stanley Cup team. Dreger continues that the Leafs were basically beaten by one line of the Bruins in the first-round.
“So I’m a bit more skeptical when it comes to how close the Toronto Maple Leafs are, and for that reason – and the fact that you’ve already got Patrick Marleau on a three-year deal going into Year Two this year. He can still skate at a high level. Do we believe, do we know that Kovalchuk can still skate at a high level – again, the skeptics are wondering about that.
“But he can score. He can shoot the puck. He can do a lot of good things. I just don’t know that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be the right fit, from even Kovalchuk’s perspective, because I don’t see Toronto contending for the Stanley Cup as early as next year.”
Elliotte Freidman was on Sportsnet 960 talking about Ilya Kovalchuk. The Anaheim Ducks may not be interested due to their salary cap issues and not really fitting their philosophy, as well as they don’t usually go after Russian players.
The LA Kings need scoring. They had been interested in Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty, so it makes sense that they are interested in Kovalchuk as well.
The San Jose Sharks have the salary cap space and Kovalchuk has a relationship with head coach Pete DeBoer.
The New York Islanders are interested.
Bob McKenzie was on TSN 1290 and was talking about Ilya Kovalchuk. McKenzie still believes Kovalchuk can play in the NHL, but you need to be careful on your expectations for the 35-year old.
“He’s probably looking for a two or three-year deal at more than $6 million a year, so he’s not cheap; but he should provide some guaranteed offense – whether it’s 15, 20, 25, 30 goals I don’t know. But I think there’s an expectation he can still put the puck in the net.