NHL Rumors: Ilya Kovalchuk Never Rests and Trade Bait News
Seriously? The Ilya Kovalchuk saga was supposed to be over.
Now it just gets weirder and weirder.
It's quite unfortunately really: With the official signing of Kovalchuk, it was expected that the moratorium on a lot of NHL movement was going to be lifted. People thought that it was Kovalchuk holding things back.
So what does it mean now? With Kovalchuk potentially heading back to free agency, do the teams wait another 20 days? Or do they just start making moves and Kovalchuk becomes an unfortunate bystander?
Not only that, but a bystander who may have to settle for a LEGAL contract with a $6-million cap hit.
The Strange, Sad Tale of Ilya Kovalchuk
Well we may as well start here first.
The New Jersey Devils are keeping their distance while the contract's legitimacy is determined, and the decision will have a big impact on the Devils.
If it's deemed a legal pact, then there's no problem. New Jersey can take that $6 million cap hit fairly comfortably, although they'd have to get a little creative.
If Kovalchuk is destined to hit the free agent market again however, there are those saying the Devils would be out of play. Anything above that $6 million hit and the Devils would have to clear some serious space as they only have $3 million remaining right now.
So guess what that means: The Los Angeles Kings would be back on the Kovalchuk train for the third (Fourth? Fifth? Tenth?) time this offseason.
San Jose Looking Around?
It's rumored that the San Jose Sharks have been looking at a few different puck-moving defensemen to replace the retired Rob Blake.
One name that came up earlier in the week was Tomas Kaberle. The Sharks have interest (as do a lot of teams) but making it mutual may be the problem.
Kaberle's preferences lie within the Eastern Conference.
The opportunity to play with a star-studded lineup in San Jose may be enough to convince Kaberle though, but no one should be getting their hopes up.
Souray and Bieksa on the Move?
Along with Kaberle, Sheldon Souray and Kevin Bieksa are the most popular names amongst those fantasizing about trades.
Souray apparently has some interested parties on the West Coast, while it seems like there's always a new team wanting Kevin Bieksa each day.
Who gets moved out of the defensive trifecta first will help determine where the other two go (If they're going to be moved). It's just a matter of getting that first trade out of the way.
Restricted Free Agency Tidbits
There are three names who could (or are) getting some big attention as RFAs.
The first would be Bobby Ryan. The Ducks have denied to every possible extent that they're going trade the winger, maintaining that they will sign him. Because of the lull though, that's almost acted as encouragement for other teams to start hurling offers at Anaheim for the winger. It's doubtful that he goes anywhere else, but good GMs are relentless, and they've been that way with Anaheim.
The next is Blake Wheeler. While Boston could make another trade to free up cap room by dealing another player, there's always interest in young scorers. What Wheeler gets in arbitration could determine the course of action Boston takes with him, but there are at least three players the Bruins would move before him.
The final RFA is Anton Stralman. A deal for the Blue Jackets' most productive defender this season has been hard to come by, but the two sides are working on hammering out a contract.
If history is any indication though, they may be able to agree on something last minute. Neither Columbus, nor Stralman's agent Marc Levine, have ever been through arbitration.
DiPietro is Fine
A few days ago it was reported that Rick DiPietro was in a car accident and had suffered some major injuries.
Some reports even said he had passed away.
Needless to say, it wasn't true. DiPietro has had some terrible luck over the past few seasons, it's not like he needs anyone else making up stories about him.
There was no broken shoulder or broken pelvis; he's just as healthy as he was before the "accident".
Free Agency Quick-Hits
Apparently Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning like dealing with the Philadelphia Flyers, and former Flyers as well.
After acquiring winger Simon Gagne earlier this week and making another deal with the Flyers earlier in the offseason, there might be interest from Yzerman on the Aaron Asham front.
Asham's party has characterized the interest on Tampa's part as "mild".
The other name that might interest people is that of Paul Kariya.
Some recent reports have the Buffalo Sabres interested in Kariya, who would fit in really well alongside Tim Connolly.