Trading for Ilya Kovalchuk could bring a lot of positives to the New York Islanders roster. But Garth Snow should not make the move. Because it hinders the team’s ability to retain star forward John Tavares.
With July 1st looming, the New York Islanders are looking to lock up their captain, John Tavares long term to a mega-money deal. As soon as humanly possible.
Arthur Staple reported that John Tavares could be looking for upwards of ten million dollars per year. Which means adding another player like Ilya Kovalchuk who wants a big contract just doesn’t make any sense.
There are still a number of hurdles to clear before he can actually join the NHL. Such as a unanimous decision from all 31 owners to give him the thumbs up, including the New Jersey Devils.
The team he left high and dry when he retired from the NHL to return to the KHL. But assuming he clears those hurdles. And Jersey allows him to return. They still control his rights and can decide his future.
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What He Might Want
Who knows what Kovalchuk actually wants as a contract, or what he’s actually worth. Thankfully there was another prolific Russian that made the jump from the KHL to the NHL in Alex Radulov.
Radulov was given a one-year deal worth $5.75 million from the Montréal Canadiens. Before leaving for the KHL, Radulov put up 102 points in 1154 games played.
Kovalchuk was a perfect point-per-game player his entire career with 816 points over 816 career NHL games. His pedigree leaving the NHL was higher than Radulov’s. He might just ask for more. Even though he’s four year’s Radulov’s senior.
This is all assuming Kovalchuk is still interested in coming. According to rumors, he might just want to wait out the NHL’s decision to boycott the Olympics.
The New York Islanders currently have $2,040,357 in cap space according to Cap Friendly, which isn’t even enough to support the likes of Kovalchuk.
Even if the New York Islanders decided to dump some terrible contracts New Jersey’s way, the numbers just don’t make any sense. In a situation where your once in every 25 years player is headed into free agency, there is no reason you should hinder the ability to resign him. Unless you take a look at what there is to come in the future.
In the 2017-18 season, $37 million of cap room is set to be freed by the end of the season. Space cleared up thanks to the albatross contracts of Nikolay Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jaroslav Halak expiring.
But we’ve seen Garth Snow give big money deals to players like Cal Clutterbuck ($17.5 million over five years) and Casey Cizikas ($16.75 million over five years). What he gives to players that produce 50, 40, 30 points respectively is terrifying to think of.
If the Garth Snow and the New York Islanders manage their salary cap correctly, Islanders fans may just be able to see the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares on the same team, but let’s be honst it makes little sense to jump through hoops to try and make this work.