News That's Not News: Ilya Kovalchuk Wants To Come Back To The NHL

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils

I wrote the blog a couple weeks ago about Ilya Kovalchuk coming back to the NHL and why it would be a perfect fit for him to end up in Vegas. It’s a pipe dream that won’t come true. But we’ve all known for a while now that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to come back to North America and give it one last go in the NHL. No the Devils “confirmed” it which I guess makes it news again? I don’t know. But here we go anyway.

So the only way he comes back to the NHL this upcoming season is if he signs in New Jersey first. Again, something we’ve pretty much known forever now. What we also know is that he has no intentions on playing in New Jersey. He’s made it clear that he’d prefer a sign-and-trade to either New York or Florida. The reason for those locations are family-related. So Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t going to agree to terms with Arizona or Colorado or Vegas or Minnesota or Toronto or any other city/state his family doesn’t want to live in. I can respect that. He’s 34-years-old. Gotta start thinking family first at that age. But in order to get him to NYC or Florida, one of those teams needs to come up with a trade that works out for the Devils because it’s not like they are just going to hand them Kovalchuk for free.

When you look at the Devils’ lineup, you have Henrique and Hall at LW. You have (most likely) Nolan Patrick, Pavel Zacha and Travis Zajac up the middle. Then you have Kyle Palmieri on the RW. Defensively they have absolutely nobody. So the right wing and defense is a clear area of need for the Devils. And when I say defense is a need for the Devils, they desperately need a top guy. Sure, they have Corey Schneider between the pipes who can make do with a shitty D group. But the asking price for Kovalchuk is either going to be a top defenseman or a top-6 RW + whatever else New Jersey decides to ask for. Unless you make that happen for New Jersey, they can just sit on Kovalchuk. Nobody is forcing them to trade him just because he wants to come back.

The Devils have all the leverage here in determining what happens with Ilya Kovalchuk next season. Now if it comes to the season after that, well then that’s a different story. If Kovalchuk stays in the KHL this year and comes back the year after, then he comes in as a UFA and can sign with whoever he wants whenever he wants. But for now, the balls are in their mouth. Or whatever that saying is.


Either way, the only possible outcome here that doesn’t suck for Flyers fans is if Kovalchuk just stays home in Russia. If for any reason at all he ends up signing in New Jersey and staying there, then they have Henrique, Hall and Kovalchuk at LW and will butt fuck the Flyers offensively. If they pull off a sign and trade for a top defensemen, then the Devils will be able to butt fuck the Flyers offensively and prevent them from doing any butt fucking themselves defensively. And then Kovalchuk remains in the Metro anyway. Sooooo yeah. A real catch 23 we have on our hands here, boys. Not too happy about it. Not happy at all.