Still nothing to report on where Ilya Kovalchuk will land.
He’s not going to be a Ranger. They aren’t in it, they never were in it, and they won’t be in it. Book that.
The odds-on favorite remains the Devils, though it’s hard to imagine what’s holding it up, unless there’s a mysterious second team. LA is out. The Rangers, again, were never in. The Islanders said they were in, but leaped out.
But my friend Tom Gulitti, over at the Bergen Record and the mega “Fire and Ice” Devils blog, wonders if the Devils will do the typical thing and announce the Kovalchuk signing on Thursday, when LeBron James makes his decision public, thus getting Lou Lamoriello’s club the least amount of publicity possible for the buck.
It remains a possibility that LeBron and Kovalchuk will be playing in the same arena next year … but only if that arena is in Newark. Because while LeBron is a longshot to sign with the Knicks, Kovalchuk will not sign with the Rangers.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s signing of Ryan McDonagh to a pro contract was a bit wrongly analyzed. Some think it means bad news for Matt Gilroy. I think otherwise. I think Wade Redden’s a goner in September, based on John Tortorella’s break-up day remarks about fixing the room and the need to get younger, and some other hints. I think the Rangers are still high on Gilroy, who should have been expected to have a tough rookie year after learning to play defense in college, then skipping right over the minor leagues.
I think Gilroy will be one of their six defensemen, and McDonagh will have a shot to be one of those six, too, and with Staal, Girardi and Del Zotto, and barring a trade of Rozsival, well, that leaves no room for Redden. Except in Hartford, where his salary-cap hit disappears. Poof.