Devils' talks with Ilya Kovalchuk turn cold as deal with L.A. Kings heats u
During one of the snowstorms that blanketed New Jersey last winter, Russian-born Ilya Kovalchuk said it didn’t faze him in the least.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old left winger seemingly prefers the southern California weather and maybe a beach house in Malibu.
Kovalchuk was in California Monday talking with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. They met in El Segundo and it appears Kovalchuk has his heart set on signing with the Kings rather than the Devils.
“Everything is the same as it was the last three or four days,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said as the team opened its week-long prospects camp at the Prudential Center. “Nothing changed. I don’t have anything to add to that.”
Asked if he believes Kovalchuk wants to play for the Devils, Lamoriello answered: “Uh, as I said, I have nothing to add to that.”
Kovalchuk and agent Jay Grossman are believed to be looking for a 10-year, $100 million deal. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Kings offered 12 years for $63 million (a $5.25 million cap hit) or 13 years at $84.5 million (a $6.5 million camp hit).
Lamoriello was asked if he is philosophically against signing a player to a contract 10 years or longer.
“I don’t think philosophically,” he responded, dodging the question.
Regardless of what the Devils might be willing to do, it seems Kovalchuk is trying very hard to sign with the Kings. Lombardi has already turned down two proposals from Grossman.
One of the proposals apparently asked that Kovalchuk be paid a low salary with a high bonus in 2012-13 because that has the potential to be a lost season because of a work stoppage when the current collective-bargaining agreement expires.
Whatever happens with Kovalchuk could have an impact on what the Devils can offer Zach Parise, who enters the final season on his contract.
Lamoriello said there is a chance the team will look to sign Parise to an extension this summer.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll certainly try to get that done as quickly as possible.”
Lamoriello said he has kept Parise’s next contract in mind while dealing with Kovalchuk.