NHL Free Agency: New York Islanders Are In on Ilya Kovalchuck

Matthew CalamiaCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2010

VANCOUVER, CANADA - FEBRUARY 10:  Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks on February 10, 2007 at General Motors Place  in Vancouver, Canada.  The Canucks defeated  the Thrashers 3-2.   (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Islanders are becoming a top player in the Ilya Kovalchuck free agent sweepstakes.

A main reason for Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang's interest is in part to attract interest to the team in order to build a new arena. Over the last couple seasons, the Islanders have been at the bottom of the league in attendance.

The Islanders have reportedly offered the left winger a ten year, $10 million offer. That seems a bit much, unless it is a front-heavy contract. The Islanders would be a bit hesitant to pay a 38 year old winger $10 million.

The Islanders don't have a very positive track record when it comes to long-term deals. Just a few years ago, they signed franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract that has since become a black cloud for the organization.

DiPietro has been plagued by injuries, and has limited him to just five games over the last two seasons.

If they can land Kovalchuck, who has also been contacted by the Los Angeles Kings, it would be a turning point in the team's history. They could finally have a big-name star in his prime, and it would automatically make them a playoff team.