The New York Islanders are reportedly not currently interested in bringing in veteran Ilya Kovalchuk who plans to return to the NHL this year.
Heading into 2018-2019 the New York Islanders are a team with a few holes. They desperately need an upgrade in net and they could also use at least one more top-four defenseman to man the blue line.
Notice how top-six forward is not on the list. Early in the offseason, some linked Ilya Kovalchuk to the Islanders because of the connection to Lou Lamoriello.
Lou was his GM in New Jersey and gave him that 15-year deal that he ended up walking out on after three years. Now that Kovalchuk so kindly wants back in the NHL, the obvious connection was to Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders.
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Apparently, the Islanders aren’t in the fold for Kovalchuk according to Pierre LeBrun. Even though it may come as a surprise for some, it’s no surprise considering what their needs are.
Yes, in his last year in the NHL Kovalchuk put up 31 points in 37 games which is fantastic but that was six years ago and he’s now 35 years old. In the KHL last year he had 63 points in 53 games, but keep in mind the competition is a little different.
There’s no way to tell how is game will transition back to the NHL, especially at his age. As we discussed earlier when this connection was first made, the only way it made sense for the Islanders was if there was a trade first moving someone out of their top-six.
It seems like that’s not in the Islanders plans, which is likely in their best interest anyway. The Islanders top-two lines combined for a total of 397 points out of the Islanders 701 total points on the season.
Their top-two lines aren’t a problem. It’s their depth beyond that and the defensive side of things that’s the issue. So although adding a potential scorer like Kovalchuk might be pretty cool on NHL 18 with the salary cap turned off, when trying to build a team in real life you have to budget wisely.
Kovalchuk isn’t going to be brought in for the third line, and the Islanders would be better suited to use that $4 million or so on the blue line or on a goalie. Be on the lookout for a deal coming to improve one of those two positions in the next ten days.