Earlier reports circulated that Ilya Kovalchuk and the Los Angeles Kings seem to be at an impasse after the Russian winger rejected GM Dean Lombardi’s “best shot” offer. While these rumors haven’t been confirmed by the Kings or Kovalchuk & Co., Elliotte Friedman states that the Kings went as far as they could without “jeopardizing Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson extensions” but Kovalchuk insists on a $100 million deal.
Considering the dwindling list of possible Kovalchuk destinations, it’s stunning that he’s not willing to compromise a bit. (At least if these rumors are true.)
I wouldn’t necessarily count out the Kings altogether, though. Los Angeles still seems to be the most sensible team for Kovalchuk on many levels and don’t forget that contract negotiations can bring out a lot of bitterness. General mangers and agents can use the media to their advantage in these situations.
To be honest, the Kings might be better off trading for Simon Gagne instead. He only has one year left with a relatively cheap $5.25 million cap hit and can provide a nice burst of goal scoring acumen in his own right. The Flyers-Kings connections are there, too, so it could make a lot of sense.
We’ll keep an eye on the biggest story (and perhaps, the biggest mess) of the free agent summer as it goes along. Who knows, we might finally see a conclusion on Monday.