I've been reading a lot of people's opinions on what will be done for the Maple Leafs this offseason to make them better. A lot of people have their own opinions and a number of people have been saying that Burke should try and sign Ilya Kovalchuk.
There are so many reasons why signing the Russian Superstar would be a terrible idea for the Leafs and even Kovalchuk himself. I'm going to start off with the most obvious reason.
Kovalchuk is the most talented free agent available this offseason and because of that he will command a huge price. Reports say that Atlanta offered Kovalchuk a deal that would rival Ovechkin's 13-year $124 million contract. People are saying that Kovalchuk will look to get somewhere in the area of $9-10 million a season from whatever team wants him. This is a hefty price and one that Brian Burke most certainly will not want to pay.
The league states that a team can spend a maximum of 20% of their salary cap on one player. While no team may be able to spend that much on Kovalchuk, he will instantly become the highest paid player on whatever team signs him.
With the conclusion of next season, Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Viktor Stalberg, Carl Gunnarsson, Luca Caputi and Keith Aulie will all be free agents and looking for a pay raise. If the Leafs sign Kovalchuk (who will more than definitely sign for an extended period of time), they will not have enough money to keep, what is assumed to be, the future core of the team.
Another reason why Kovalchuk would not be a great fit in Toronto would be the fact that lots of people say he is "uncoachable.”
There have been a lot of reports saying that Kovalchuk doesn't get along with his coaches and likes to do things his own way. If the Leafs were to sign Kovalchuk and he indeed proves to be uncoachable, that mentality may rub off on a lot of the younger players.
Burke has made the Maple Leafs very young and it is mainly for that reason why Ron Wilson is able to get his message across to this team than the old Leaf team. Kovalchuk would only harm the young team and would not fit in.
There are players in the league who can help make everyone around them better. Ilya Kovalchuk is an example of the complete opposite. Kovalchuk is a player who likes to get things done himself and rarely helps out on the defensive end of the game.
While this may prove to work out at times, this is not a method that the Leafs want for such a young a promising team. They want everybody to assume a role and they want the whole team to succeed as one, not have one player carry the team and everyone else take a back seat.
There is also the fact that Kovalchuk has stated in the past that he has no desire to play in Canada. While enough money may be able to convince him otherwise, I don't think that Kovalchuk is a player who can strive under pressure. In the very minimal playoff experience that he has, he has been pretty much a nonexistent factor.
Kovalchuk will most likely end up going to a cup contending team. The chance of winning a Stanley Cup may be enough to convince Kovalchuk to take a pay cut for whichever team wants him. Just keep in mind that, in the best interest of the Maple Leafs and Kovalchuk, he will not be a part of the Maple Leafs next season.