I see we’re still talking about LeBron … er, Ilya Kovalchuk.
Will this ever end?
Well, I’ve said all I can say about it. I wrote around July 5 that the Rangers should at least consider it, that this kind of talent comes along only once in a while, that he’s only 27.
Then I was told flat-out that they weren’t involved, and that they wouldn’t be.
Then I started seeing the salary he’s commanding, and worse, the number of years. I don’t think the Rangers should be in for that price or for that lone, nor do I think they can afford to be, inside the salary cap. So I wrote they should stay away.
I don’t know what to think. And obviously, I’m not alone on the fence.
Would he help? Absolutely. He fills the biggest hole the Rangers have, and would eliminate a lot of those nights when they can’t score more than one Gaborik goal. He gives them a second first-line player to go with all the other third- and fourth-line guys they have. And when you get a legit first line, some of those guys now playing first line can slide in OK at No. 2 line positions.
Would he hurt? Absolutely. He will cripple them capwise for years to come, and when he’s in his 30s and not scoring big numbers of goals anymore, he will be a detriment on the ice and a cap-clogger off the ice, and his contract will look worse than Drury’s. During his entire contract he will prevent them from adding mid-salary role players and defensemen, and immediately will force the young kids to be good, and quickly. And maybe down the line they will have to trade some of those young players in order to be able to keep others.
I think, ideally, you build your core then add the superstars. Because you can’t do it the other way around. No team in history has bought a core and succeeded. Dozens have built a team almost ready to contend, then added super-skilled parts later, and won.
So I’m still on the fence. Fortunately, I don’t have to make this decision.