The Boston Bruins have seemingly re-entered the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Last time the derby to sign the Russian winger occurred, the Bruins missed on that opportunity as the Los Angeles Kings snatched him on a three-year deal worth $6.25 million per season.
On Tuesday, the Bruins lost to the Kings in overtime. Last season, the Bruins and the Kings clashed in overtime, but the Bruins prevailed. Guess how? Ilya Kovalchuk in the penalty box for tripping and Patrice Bergeron with the game-winner on the power play.
Could Kovalchuk make his way back to the TD Garden ice, this time in the Bruins uniform? Shawn Hutcheon of The Fourth Period reports that the Bruins have expressed interest in Kovalchuk.
Sources close to the situation say #NHLBruins have expressed interest in free agent Ilya Kovalchuk.
— Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon) December 17, 2019
His colleague, David Pagnotta, added that Kovalchuk would like to sign as soon as possisble, maybe within this week. He added Calgary and Pittsburgh to the list of those interested, alongside the Bruins, of course.
Told BOS, CGY, PIT among teams w/ interest. Kovalchuk hopes to sign this week & get back on ice ASAP, but of course no guarantees.
Note: Kovalchuk can sign during the holiday roster freeze (applies to waivers/trades/loans), but a team must have open roster spot during freeze. https://t.co/Eo8v98QYnp
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) December 17, 2019
Igor Eronko from Russia added a positive note for management about Kovalchuk’s potential deal, reporting the 36-year-old forward would be okay with a league minimum in terms of his salary. The Bruins would take Kovalchuk on no other circumstance, presumably.
Per source Ilya Kovalchuk wants to sign with a contender and would be OK with a minimum salary. Bruins are interested
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) December 17, 2019
Kovalchuk’s days as an elite NHL power forward are over. However, he had 34 points in 64 games last year and recorded nine points in 17 games this year. For a league minimum contract through the end of the 2019-20 season, it doesn’t seem like the Bruins will risk much.
On the bright side, he could just replace Brett Ritchie on the roster, as Ritchie hasn’t clicked in at all. The Bruins would have to stay beware, thought. The Russian’s last two NHL contracts were terminated prematurely. On the other hand, Boston wouldn’t sign him for any kind of a humongous deal anymore. Besides, they would acquire a scoring help yielding nothing.