The rumors of Kovalchuk making his return to the NHL have been around since the moment he left to go back to Mother Russia. I’d say I’ve written at least 4 or 5 blogs about it already in 2017. And on Saturday, it looks like we can finally get our answer.
If the Devils are able to pull off a sign-and-trade with Kovalchuk once Free Agency opens up, a team that has been thrown out there the most has been the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ve already brought in Artemi Panarin last week to bring that comfortable communist feel to Columbus. Now all they’ll have to do is meet the asking price. Which–for the Devils–is most likely going to be a good, young defenseman. Considering the Devils have, oh I don’t know, zero players on the blueline who are actually good and not bad. Andy Greene, Ben Lovejoy, John Moore, Dalton Prout, Michael Kapla and Damon Severson. Pretty sure half of those names are made up and not real players. Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer are rolling in their graves right now.
The name that’s been thrown out there in most rumors I’ve seen has been Ryan Murray. Which would be a pretty steep price for the Blue Jackets to pay for a 34-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk who has spent the past few seasons playing for Putin. But considering they already have Seth Jones and Zach Werenski on the blueline, I guess it won’t be as difficult to deal Murray away if it means you have a chance at getting a couple more seasons out of Kovy.
The Flyers fan in me absolutely hates this move. Would be the biggest fan in the world if Kovalchuk ended up in Vegas and got his good buddy Alex Radulov to sign there with him. Anything to keep Kovalchuk out of the Metro works for me. But the anarchist in me? The guy who wants to see nothing but chaos? Well Ilya Kovalchuk playing for John Tortorella is the type of shit that wet dreams are made out of.
John Tortorella was your 2017 Jack Adams trophy winner as the best coach in the NHL. Nobody in the league pulled a bigger 180 than Torts after his performance at the World Cup in September. But you look back at all the Jack Adams winners to 2010. You’ve got Barry Trotz last year, then Bob Hartley, Patrick Roy, Ron MacLean, Ken Hitchcock, Dan Bylsma and Dave Tippett. All of them besides Trotz have been fired by their team. And bringing Kovalchuk to Columbus would almost guarantee that Torts would follow suit.
Truth be told, Kovalchuk isn’t even really one of the bad Russians. He’s not quite on the same level as guys like Alex Semin or Nail Yakupov. But there’s still going to be a huge clash between Kovalchuk and Torts. The first time Torts starts tearing into Kovalchuk and reaming his ass out, it’ll be the Cold War Two Point Oh. Wouldn’t be surprised is Kovalchuk just packs up his shit again and say he doesn’t need to deal with that maniac. And that’s the chaos that I’m all in on. I still don’t really see Kovalchuk being the guy Columbus is going after. Think they’d want to go after a center more than an aging left wing coming back from Russia. But who knows with how this offseason has been going. Guess we’ll find out on Saturday.