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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

19 Teams & Russia Linked To Kovalchuk

We're all sick of the Ilya Kovalchuk thing right? After most of the big name UFAs signed deals on July 1, it's been a non-stop barrage of Kovalchuk information.

I'm surprised we don't know what his favorite color of underwear is at this point with all the news surrounding him.

However, the front-runner leading the pack and fanning the flames is once again Eklund over at

Once you've awoken from either passing out, diabetic shock, seizure or the coma that revelation just put you in, grab a glass of water, hug your loved ones who have no doubt come to your aid and re-focus on the task at hand here.

For whatever reason, this afternoon I began thinking about Kovalchuk. Then, I stated thinking about how every team in the league is surely interested, but there's only a few that logically would make sense either from the Salary Cap standpoint or personnel standpoint.

In all, Eklund has linked 19 teams plus Russia as being Kovalchuk's landing place since July 1. (Yes, I went back and counted. I also provided the links to all the mentions of the teams below. Did I miss one or even 11? Certainly possible given these gaudy numbers already.)

So let's go through this shall we?

Everyone already knows the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are in on it. The Devils even signed him to an illegal contract.

Moving on.

Pittsburgh Penguins

My personal favorite was Kovalchuk being linked to the Penguins. After I avoided a stroke while contemplating the many ways this may be the worst "rumor" in the history of the Internet, I narrowed it down to one main reason.

The Pens have about $2 million in cap space right now. Based on the Devils' logic/rejected contract the Pens would have to sign him to a 51-year, $102 million dollar contract so his cap hit is a meager $2 million per year. Front-end load it all you want, doesn't matter. He could very well be dead in 51 years.

The point is that the Penguins most likely never went beyond the stage of "hey wouldn't it be cool to have him?" phase behind closed doors while eating Qdoba burritos.

New York Islanders

Next, the Isles.

(Bet this was taken on July 1 as the offers poured in.)

Makes sense given that they're trying to get up to the salary cap floor, need a new arena worse than the Pens did, have stock-piled high draft picks for the last few I need to go on?

Problem is, Kovalchuk spent his time mired in a young team in constant rebuilding in Atlanta and turned down $101 million from them.

New York Rangers

While we're in the N.Y. area, let's take a stroll down Broadway with the Rangers. How this is even remotely a possibility is beyond me unless they start shaving cap space hardcore.

This pretty well sums it up from a big Rangers fan:

Me: When was the last time Glen Sather made a good trade or signing excluding Frolov?

Gopher: Never....I'd say his last good move was trading Tyutin and Backman for Zherdev and Fritsche, however he didn't resign Zherdev.

He didn't resign Marek Malik, does that count? I'm gonna go with drafting and holding onto [Lundqvist] as his triumph and not trading him away with 13 draft picks for someone old and pointless like a Chris Chelios.

Can always rely on Gopher for insight.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are another team that this wasn't ever going to happen with. Brian Burke is working on retooling this team and held true to form by not trading Tomas Kaberle when he had the chance without needing consent.

(Isn't impressed)

According to CapGeek, they only have $2 million and change in cap space too. See Pittsburgh for similar response.

Philadelphia Flyers

See Toronto. No way, no how was Kovalchuk going to Philadelphia. They had to dump Simon Gagne in order to clear cap space. They've lost Gagne and added Matt Walker, Sean O'Donnell, Nik Zherdev and Andrei Meszaros. Plus, they may still address a question mark in goal yet. But sure, Kovalchuk was going there...

Detroit Red Wings

If this was ever even on the table and he didn't sign in Detroit, I will have less respect for him. Marian Hossa turned down the cash from the Pens to sign with them only to lose to the Pens in the 2009 Finals. (I've never sounded so evil in my laugh than when I saw Hossa's teary-eyed face as the Pens were mobbing Marc-Andre Fleury. Glorious moment in my life.)

The Wings are notorious for having high-powered Russians on their rosters. Even still, there's a big issue with the salary cap in Detroit and this was probably no more than a thought.

St. Louis Blues

Another one that stinks worse than a skunk that's been dead in the road outside your apartment for 4 days baking in the sun.

The Blues have publicly come out and said they're rebuilding from within and they wouldn't be a big player in the UFA market this summer. So, if they signed Kovalchuk, that wouldn't make them a major player?

Ottawa Senators

Here's the biggest reason he wasn't going to Ottawa: cap cap cap cap cap cap cap cap cap cap. Noticing a trend here?

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks are crunching the numbers to see if they can afford to re-sign Bobby Ryan, which if they don't, would be a huuuuuuuuge mistake. Then, if there's enough space they might reunite Teemu Selanne with Paul Kariya.

Kovalchuk never made sense here.

Washington Capitals

I have to admit, if Kovalchuk took a reduced rate and actually did sign in Washington, if only for one season, watching a line of Backstrom, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk would be downright scary.

(Google images comes through again.)

Again though, no way it happens and the cap is a big reason why.

Dallas Stars

Don't the Stars have a self-imposed salary cap of somewhere around $45 million? So, where exactly did this rumor crop up from?

Atlanta Thrashers

Didn't I just mention that he turned down $101 million from the Thrashers already? Sure, Eklund says he doesn't believe this is happening, but he's "hearing rumors" about it.

San Jose Sharks

For a team with about $700,000 in cap space, I can't imagine this to ever have been anything serious.

For one, if Kovalchuk signed in San Jose, they'd have to most likely shed the amount of cap space they took on with him, so either Joe Thornton is gone or a combination of other guys get dealt for picks and prospects.

Who's going to take on $7 million-ish (just guessing what Kovalchuk's cap hit would probably be) in salary? Not many teams out there with that kind of space, or willing to for that matter.

Calgary Flames

The Flames are too busy re-signing former busts like Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay to even be concerned with Kovalchuk being on the market.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are yet another team who couldn't even begin to contemplate this as a reality in a parallel universe, where KFC is good for you and pixie dust is the currency of the world, because of their cap issues.

Colorado Avalanche

Basically Colorado shares the same as the Blues' view on building from within. Though I did hear there was an unreleased track by John Denver that was recently found called "Rocky Mountain Russian."

Maybe that was a look into the future? (Yes, I'm trying to sound as ridiculous as Eklund. Note the key word there is TRYING)

Minnesota Wild

The Wild are too close to the cap to pull this kind of move off unless they find a way to shed some salary. Even with Kovalchuk they're a fringe playoff team, so what's the point?

That money is better spent elsewhere.

Russia & The KHL

Here's what I'm secretly rooting for. I'm hoping that Kovalchuk takes a 1-year deal to go play in Russia so we can have this much fun next summer all over again!

So there you have it, 19 teams in addition to the KHL with only a few that it would even make sense to have made a legit run at Kovalchuk.

It's postings like "I've heard rumblings about Teams X,Y,Z." that lead to false rumors being spread around Twitter and such like wildfire.

In this day and age, it's up to the insiders to be more vigilant than ever and claiming "I give you everything I hear without a filter" is a smokescreen to cover your own tail.

People, including myself, love hearing rumors about our teams and the game we love so much. We look to the credible people out there, who don't post that Selanne and Kariya could be going to Pittsburgh. That duo COULD sign anywhere, but a rhetorical answer to the question does not justify it as a rumor.

All we're asking for is there to be some sense behind what's being posted as a rumor. Weigh each one on a case by case basis. Offer up what positives and negatives it would bring. Give us a thought as to why a deal could work and what might have to be done to make it work. Is that too hard?

I don't think so.

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