It appears as if the Los Angeles Kings and Ilya Kovalchuk are inching closer to a long term deal that would see the highly-touted Russian land in Tinsel town.
Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that, while a deal is not yet finalized, it may just be a matter of finalizing term and no-trade/no-movement clauses.
If the deal is consummated the Kings could boast a first line that may include the likes of Kovalchuk at left wing, Anze Kopitar at centre and Dustin Brown on the right side, which may very well emerge as one of the NHL’s most feared lines.
While not expected to sign by the end of the weekend, it appears as if Kovalchuk will sign with the Kings sometime next week.
For the New Jersey Devils, they will now have to direct their focus on acquiring an offensive defenseman or another offensive forward to fill the void left by Kovalchuk’s departure.
The Devils acquired Kovalchuk last season for a package of players that included defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, Prospect Patrice Cormier and the Devils first round draft choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, which was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the Dustin Byfuglien deal at the Draft.
It was rumored earlier this week that the Kings had been looking at a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that would see Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell head to the Kings for a package of youngsters that may include highly-touted goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Kovalchuk turned down a deal with the Atlanta Thrashers at last year's trade deadline that would have seen him earn over $100 million over 10 years, one of the richest deals in NHL history.
While the numbers are unknown, it appears as if Kovalchuk will sign for as much as $80-$100 million over 12-15 years.
Stay tuned, the Kovalchuk saga might just be beginning.
Until next time.