Why is he available?
A single year after signing him to a then audacious three-year $18.75 million deal ($6.25 million AAV), the Kings have scratched Ilya Kovalchuk for the “foreseeable future”. That’s one heck of a 360 in such a short amount of time.
Kovalchuk hasn’t been that point-per-game player he was when he left for Russia back in 2013, but he hasn’t been terrible either. In 81 games since 2018-19, Kovalchuk has 19 goals and 43 points. It’s by no means worth $6.25 million per season, but that’s usable production.
What were the Kings thinking when they signed him in 2018? Kovalchuk was 35 years old at the time. Sure he scored 327 points in 298 games for SKA St. Petersburg, but the KHL and the NHL aren’t equal leagues. And again, Kovalchuk was 35 at the time of signing.
It’s clear they regret it.
Islanders Interest Level: 0/5
The interest level is easily zero out of five. The Islanders already have an aging player with a massive cap hit that isn’t producing according to his pay grade; Andrew Ladd.
The Islanders shouldn’t get anywhere near Kovalchuk. The Isles are already one of the oldest teams in the NHL. Seven of their players are over the age of 30. Adding a 36-year-old Kovalchuk wouldn’t be a shrewd move.