NHL Rumors: Ilya Kovalchuk, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Rumors: Ilya Kovalchuk, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will now turn their attention to Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat
On Ilya Kovalchuk

John Shannon: There still hasn’t been a final decision from Ilya Kovalchuk with regards to if it’s the NHL or KHL. He’s still going over his options.

Aivis Kalnins: There are still teams that are trying to convince Kovalchuk to sign now and not wait.

On the Pittsburgh Penguins …

Wes Crosby: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on getting a third-line center: “I’m not surprised we didn’t get anything done today. We have a long way to go until we play.”

Jason Mackay: Rutherford added that prices for a third-line center were a little high but he expects to do something on the trade front at some point.

Wes Crosby: Rutherford on acquiring a center: “It could be in the next day, it could be in the next couple of months, it could take into the season”

Jason Mackey: Rutherford said they expect to have Antti Niemi play between 30 and 40 games.

On the Tampa Bay Lightning …

Joe Smith: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said they will debate whether they need to add another forward or not.

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: The Lightning added Dan Girardi yesterday in free agency. Jake DotchinSlater Koekkoek and Mikhail Sergachev will all compete for a roster spot in camp, and all could have a shot at making the team. That would put them at eight defensemen though.

Could the Lightning be considering carrying eight defensemen next year?

“Why not?” Yzerman said. “I could have 10 defensemen if I want. No rules say you can’t. A lot of teams carry eight. We want to see how our young guys do. It will all sort itself out.”

A lot can happen between now and the start of the season – they could trade someone like Andrej Sustr.

There is nothing to report with regards to RFAs Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Yzerman plans to focus more on them now.