I’ve banged the drum enough about the pros and cons of Ilya Kovalchuk’s free agency. There are some pros. But …
First of all, he’s way more Amar’e Stoudemire than LeBron James. In other words, he’s in the upper crust of NHL players, forever playing in the All-Star game, probably a Hall of Famer one day, but not even in the conversation of best player in the game. Yet, like Stoudemire, he will demand the same type of money as the best player.
And yes the Rangers—who are not interested—really need offensive players. And there isn’t another one of these around this year, and probably won’t be next year.
If it’s true that he’s turned down 12 years at $63.6 million (as Larry Brooks reported) from the L.A. Kings, who could contend for a Cup, then what would it take for a non-contender like the Rangers to get him?
Assume it would be more than that. Also assume it would be a lot more, since he turned down around $10 million a year from Atlanta. Let’s say, conservatively, it’s $8 million per. So when the Rangers boot Wade Redden to Hartford in September, they have the cap space for that with some relatively minor roster tweaking. Plus the Garden has all this extra cash sitting around since LeBron decided to go south.
Assume they feel Kovalchuk can be a big-game player, and a team-carrying guy.
Assume they decide that they don’t need a playmaking center more than another gunner, not to mention any of their other plethora of holes, and think, hey, maybe we should go after this guy (they won’t).
It will still take a 10-year comittment, at the least. This guy is 27. How is that contract going to look when he’s 34, 35, 37?
I’ll tell you how it’s going to look. It’s going to look worse that Redden’s or Chris Drury’s. That’s how it’s going to look. Especially if he turns into a 30-goal scorer later on.
They’ll be in cap hell, and if the world doesn’t end in 2012, then it will be 2018 and we’ll all be screaming “How could they have handcuffed this franchise like this way back in 2010?”
And we’ll be talking about One Cup in 78 Years.
And no end in sight.