Monday, July 5, 2010
Will he or won't he?
Is Ilya Kovalchuk re-signing with the Devils as has been speculated by everyone's fave the NY Post? Or did they jump the gun?
Supposedly, the terms are seven years for $60 million, which would make the electrifying 27 year-old Russian star the highest paid Devil in franchise history. It would average a gaudy $8.57 million. If true, it would be the changing of the guard with penny pinching Team President/GM Lou Lamoriello finally throwing the gauntlet to someone other than key cogs Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias. The Devils would then become Kovy's team for better or worse even with Zach Parise having a year left at a golden bargain hit ($3.125 M) before being due a significant raise next summer. Zach Attack's '10-11 salary is $5 million.
While that'll be vital to New Jersey's long-term success, getting Kovalchuk to sign on the dotted line hopefully before the night ends would be huge. The Devils would enter this season as one of the favorites to challenge Atlantic rivals Philly and Pittsburgh to come out of the East along with Washington. Along with re-signing David Clarkson ($2.67 M), acquiring Jason Arnott, signing Johan Hedberg ($1.5 M) and adding blueliners Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder, the Devs would be stacked. However, Lamoriello would also be forced to unload salary with likely candidates Brian Rolston ($5 M), Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 M) and either Bryce Salvador ($2.9 M) or Colin White ($3 M) possibilities.
If Kovy re-ups, that's a problem Lou wouldn't mind because his team should be a serious Cup challenger. The club needs to maximize their chances. Especially with cornerstone Brodeur not getting any younger. The 38 year-old future Hall Of Famer has just two years remaining on his contract. Bolstering the offense and solidifying the D would go a long way to chasing elusive Cup No.4.
The question is when will No.17 finally come to his senses. Unless he's really considering the Islanders or holding out hope some other team comes out of lurking, the Devils are his best option. They have a roster which is built to win now and the rumored terms are more than fair. What's taking so long? Only Kovalchuk knows.