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New York Islanders Chasing Ilya Kolvachuk Still Bad Idea

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 25: Gold medal winner Ilya Kovalchuk #71 of Olympic Athlete from Russia celebrates after defeating Germany 4-3 in overtime during the Men's Gold Medal Game on day sixteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 25, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 25: Gold medal winner Ilya Kovalchuk #71 of Olympic Athlete from Russia celebrates after defeating Germany 4-3 in overtime during the Men's Gold Medal Game on day sixteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 25, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders had a single strength last season, it was their top six. Bringing in Ilya Kovalchuk could destabilize that. It’s not worth it.

The New York Islanders scored 264 goals in 2017-18. That was good for the eighth most productive team in the NHL. If not for the defense the Islanders may not have fallen so far down the standings.

A top six of John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, and Anthony Beauvillier was a force for the Islanders. Assuming they all stay next season you have to think the Islanders forward fare even better in 2018-19.

So what happens when they introduce

Ilya Kovalchuk

into the mix? Cause according to Elliotte Freidman, the Islanders are going to take a run at the Russian free agent.

Ilya Fits Where?

Elliotte Freidman stated today in his 31 Thoughts that the New York Islanders will take a run at Ilya Kovalchuk. Why?

Sure, Kovalchuk was a point per game player in his NHL career. In his 816 NHL games, he has 816 points. But his last NHL game was in 2012-13 at the age of 29 for Lou Lamoriello’s Devils. By the time he skates in the NHL again six years will have passed.

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Kovalchuk spent those six years playing for SKA St. Petersburg putting up 285 points in 262 games. Good numbers, but then again, its the KHL. How does that play in the NHL, now that Kovalchuk is 35 years old?

Sure, when Alex Radulov came over from the KHL he was a hit. He just put up 72 points last season for the Dallas Stars. But Radulov is four years younger than Kovalchuk.

Let’s just say that Lou reunites with the player he signed to that CBA busting 15 year $100 million deal in 2010. What does that mean for the Islanders top six?

There’s no way Kovalchuk is coming in to play on the third line. So what player gets bumped down? Anthony Beauvillier is likely the casualty. With the way Beau finished 2017-18, that’s not a good idea.

In his final 40 games of the season, after being recalled from the AHL, Beau went on a tear. In those 40 games, he put up 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points. Including a five-game goal streak at the end of the season.

Are the Islanders seriously going to put a kid who was on pace for 35 goals in a full season on the third line with Brock Nelson, so they could bring in a 35-year-old vet? I hope not.

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I get why Freidman linked the Islanders to Kovalchuk. The link with Lou just makes sense. But when you look at the team, there’s no reason to bring in a player like Kovalchuk. I don’t mind moving players down, even Beauvillier, but only if the Islanders bring in a better player, Kovalchuk isn’t.

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