It’s now been a solid week of Ilya Kovalchuk rumors, whining and (perhaps) tiresome greed.* Maybe you’re still riveted by the whole saga, but my guess is that most of the hockey world is worn out by the talk.
* – And not just tiresome greed on Kovalchuk’s part, either. Watching this situation play out is a lot like watching those two amoral rich guys from “Trading Places” getting into a slap-fight.
Still, the discussion wages on and we’ll take you through it. Details emerged of Kovalchuk’s renewed (yet fruitless) talks with the Los Angeles Kings. LA Times beat writer Helene Elliot provides some numbers from unnamed sources.
Attracted by Kovalchuk’s production and electrifying style, the Kings reportedly offered him $63 million over 12 years, an annual cap hit of $5.25 million, or $84.5 million over 13 years, an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.
Several sources familiar with the situation but not authorized to talk publicly said Kovalchuk hasn’t compromised on an average annual value of $10 million, close to the NHL-leading $9.538-million average Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin earns in a 13-year deal.
The Kings say they can’t accommodate Kovalchuk, retain their core and bring in the support players necessary to become a consistent Stanley Cup contender.
Kovalchuk seems to be at a pretty obvious fork in the contract talk road. If he turns left, he could receive those huge wads of cash that he really wants – or something close to his dream deal – but there’s a catch; he’d have to continue to be a star on a dimly lit team of misfits. He has the option of going right, too, though. In that scenario, Kovalchuk would sacrifice a few million (maybe per year) to play meaningful hockey for a contender.
Obviously, he wants both, but after seven days of hand-wringing does he expect the perfect situation to pop out of mid-air like some monetary genie? Is he simply struggling with this fork in the road? Perhaps he wants Lebron James to decide his basketball future so the Russian left-winger could get more spotlight to himself?
It might seem like we’re playing an Ilya Kovalchuk broken record, but we’re doing all that we can to keep you informed about the situation. Of course, sometimes the message can get muddled through all the back-and-forth and the many smoke screens supplied by both sides.
Who knows, we might even stumble upon something of substance this weekend.