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.

14 Responses to Devils' talks with Ilya Kovalchuk turn cold as deal with L.A. Kings heats u

  1. JoelJoel says:

    I have a feeling someone might get burned by a long deal with Ilya. I have no doubt he will play well next season, and could be in top form for years, but lengthy contracts are always a risk.

    Anyone remember the last time DiPietro played? And it's not just injury that worries me. He could become complacent, lazy, or simply be unable to keep up his level of performance.

    If anything, I'd offer him a 4-5 year max, and worry about resigning him then. The headache over losing him as a UFA five years from now is much preferable to the migraine of swallowing a huge salary for a player no longer worth it (or not playing at all). People seem to forget about our friend the cap.

    Hope all the GMs play it smart and stop throwing around the idea of 10+ year deals.

  2. Kramer says:

    I know 3 chicks that make up their mind faster than Kovie.

  3. cam7777 says:

    And it's back to the drawing board.  Sounds like a deal with the Kings won't be reached.  No one is willing to give here.  Kovalchuk won't take less money than he wants, but he won't go to Russia, and no one will offer him deals that are absolutely ridiculous on the cap.  You can't have it both ways – either you take the big cap hit and big salary, and play for a mediocre team in a smaller market that's desperate for a star – or you be a team guy, sign for a little less, and make your salary cap friendly.  Get with the program Kovalchuk.

    In Pierre LeBrun's latest blog, he talks to some agents who suggested that their clients would not be taken off the free agent market until Kovalchuk is signed, and the subsequent Kaberle fall out unfolds.  So it seems that to the agents, a Kaberle trade is almost certain.  A few sources are reporting that the Sharks are now in on Kovalchuk, and Strickland just reported that the Sharks are willing to part with Clowe or Setoguchi + for Kaberle.  He's a pretty reliable source, and has broken numerous signings, trades and buyouts (easily the best guy associated with Eklund).

    Interesting developments to say the least.

  4. reinjosh says:

    I like the idea of Clowe. Have for a while. Strickland makes it seem like the Sharks would be willing to pay the price Burke is asking even for one season. I do like the sound of that.

  5. cam7777 says:

    Clowe (big scoring winger) + McLaren (secondary toughness) for Kaberle?  Pretty fair trade I'd say.  My gut tells me though, that Burke would rather hold onto Kaberle and try to add assets together to get a better winger.  Still, at this point, the cap relief would be nice, and we need the scoring help.  Also, with Thornton up for renewal next year, we'd probably get a shot at resigning Kabs – which Burke could maybe hint to him could be an option.  I'd love to have Clowe, and then a year from now also have Kabs.

  6. reinjosh says:

    Yeah its a solid deal. I still think Burke might hold out a little longer but you never know. He might push for Clowe and a pick. The cap relief would be mighty nice though.

  7. hockey_lover says:

    how could SJ possibly be interested with:

    $7.5mil Heater  – 4 years
    $7.2mil Thornton – this season only
    $6.9mil Marleau – 4 years
    $6.6mil Boyle – 4 years
    $4.0mil Pavelski – 4 years

    Yes, they could trade one of those guys to make up the difference but if most teams cant afford Kovy, they probably arent going to want one of those top 4 guys either (Pavelski being the 5th).

    SJ has $32.2mil tied up in 5 players. They only have to sign 3 more forwards, 1 dman … and their goalie is Niittymaki .. all with only $7 mil cap space .. and they want Kovy? 

    Just seems fishy to me.

  8. Kramer says:

    I heard from my secret insider sources that Kovalchuk is gonna sign somewhere before the season starts.

  9. leafmeister says:




    Playoffs? Getting there.

  10. cam7777 says:

    I like this Frazer McLaren kid.  He's nothing flashy, but he's another big Canadian from the WHL.  He's actually a monster at six-four 235.  Hes from Winnipeg too, so I endorse him whole-heartedly.  Better than a late 2nd round pick in a weak draft?  I dunno, but at least he'd be contributing sooner rather than later.

  11. cam7777 says:

    Apparently they would trade Thornton.  So let's say they did this:

    To NYR: Thornton
    To SJS: Dubinsky, Kreider, 1st in 2011*
    *conditional on a resign or the pick drops to a 2nd

    To TOR: Clowe, 2nd in 2011
    To SJS: Kaberle

    -sign Ilya Kovalchuk, 8 years, 64 million

    Kovalchuk – Marleau – Setoguchi
    Heatley – Pavelski – Kreider
    McGinn – Dubinsky – Couture
    McLaren – Mitchell – Nichol

    Boyle – Vlasic
    Kaberle – Murray
    Wallin – Huskins
    (Leach, Demers)

    Nittymaki – Greiss

    That's just over the cap at 60 milion, so they could definitely get under with that team.  The thinking would be this: if they don't win the Cup, they aren't going to want to resign Thornton, but after the season, they'll be in a position where they'd have to lose him for nothing if they don't want to resign him.  THey could trade his rights, but that trade would be minimal.  So, why not trade him now and eliminate the risk, and sign Kovalchuk to be his replacement.  Also, the team could use a new look – the fans are growing ever more impatient.

    The reason it is potentially problematic though, is that Heatley is a *****, and he only came to SJS to play with Thornton.  Who knows how trading Thornton could backfire on them in regards to Heatley.

  12. MystifoLeafs says:

    I love how theres players out there who can do exactly what this guy can do but yet their not in the mindset that they need some contract that is valued at 10 mill a season, case and point the Phil Kessel signing he is a 5 mill and he is able to do exactly what Kovy can at only HALF the price (and yes I know he cost th leafs more then 5 mill to get him.) Kovy if someone is offering your 6 – 7 mill a season just take it because personally I would only offer you somewhere in the price range of 4 – 5 mill a season because only the 2 way guys like backstrom and pavel datzyuk deserve the massive contracts.

  13. reinjosh says:

    Yeah good point. I actually though you meant Kyle McLaren so…

  14. reinjosh says:

    I would switch Bozak and Kadri. Bozak seems to be more of the two-way player and would just fit on a line with Versteeg and Kulemin better. Kadri seems to fit the dynamics of a first line center better than Bozak does. I know it wouldn't be the greatest fit putting a rookie on the top line but to me that way works a whole lot better.

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