Kings will meet with Ilya Kovalchuk on Monday

Ilya Kovalchuk will meet with Kings executives for the first time Monday, a chance for the Kings to sell him on the merits of living and playing here — and on compromising at the bargaining table.

Kovalchuk’s arrival in Los Angeles on Sunday added a new twist to a saga that began when the NHL’s free-agent period opened on July 1. The Kings had two previous rounds of talks with his agent, Jay Grossman, but walked away each time after Grossman refused to relax his client’s 10-year, $100-million price.

However, with few apparent alternatives for the 27-year-old left wing besides returning home to play in Russia’s KHL, Kovalchuk agreed to hear another pitch from the Kings, this time in person.

General Manager Dean Lombardi denied he had forged a deal with the two-time 50-goal scorer after Daren Millard of Sportsnet said via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that “Kovy-gate comes 2 an end tomorrow. Kings win the process.” Lombardi said the sides weren’t close.

“He is coming for a visit,” Lombardi said. “This is a great opportunity for him to meet us and for us to meet him. Reports of us signing him are utterly false.”

Sitting in the same room and looking each other in the eye could clear the path to common ground.

The Kings’ two reported offers to Kovalchuk were $63 million over 12 years — a salary cap hit of $5.25 million per season — and $84.5 million over 13 years, a cap hit of $6.5 million. They were reluctant to go much higher because they need cap space to keep core players, re-sign Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, who can become restricted free agents next summer, and to add the support players they need to become Stanley Cup contenders.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-kings-kovalchuk-20100712,0,2776654.story


22 Responses to Kings will meet with Ilya Kovalchuk on Monday

  1. hockey_lover says:

    I gotta say … Kovy is likely one of the greediest players around.

    For a guy who is considers (obviously) himself an elite player … in 8 seasons, he has only hit 50 goals twice and never hit 100pts … yet he wants more money per season than many players WAY better than him are making.

    Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin to name 3. Christ, even Heatley has better numbers in recent seasons. Gaborik, despite his injury problems, put up an extra point than him as well.

    Its asinine.

  2. HABSSTAR says:

    He's obviously taking advantage of a very thin UFA market.  I think he's a very good player asking for elite player cash.  I hope everyone tells him to pound salt.  Take the 6.5 a year (max) or go play in Russia and hand over 75% of your pay to the mafia. 

  3. albertateams says:

    I agree.

    Kovy is a great player and can dominate with his scoring, but if you look at the whole picture I wouldn't put him in the top 10 forwards to build a franchise around. In no particular order I would take Crosby, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Malkin, Parise, Sedin, Stamkos, Zetterberg, Toews, Getzlaf, Nash, Iginla, Richards, Staal, and Datsyuk before Kovy.  
    Somebody is going to give him 7-10 million for a long term and its going to bite that team in the ass big time.  
  4. Kramer says:

    Kovie's got many things to think about. The biggest is to choose a place that will keep him safe from aliens and where women and tasty food are aplenty. The food in Russia is horrible so there's no way he'd play in the HKL. The women are fast but they're the same in LA so that's a wash. Alien kidnappings are common in Russia. The KGB has been on alert, but they can't do much cause of budget cutbacks. Then he's got to avoid the Russian mafia who are hungry for kickbacks.

  5. LeafsneedSteen says:

    Only a two time 50 goal scorer?  This isn't 1993, being a two time 50 goal scorer makes him one of the best pure goal scorers in the leauge. 

    The Kings are offering 6.5 a year, that is a slap in the face.  Look around the league there are a lot of players making 6.5+ (Redden, Campbell, Drury, Marleau, Briere, Vanek, Kopitar, Nash, Heatley, Iginla, Spezza to name ten) that do not rival Kovalchuk and they didn't have to wait to have their pockets stuffed longer than a day on the open market.  If Kovalchuk was Canadian the discussion would whether or he's best player in the league rather then is he worth his asking price.

    NYI is offering 100 million, if he was greedy he would have signed that in a heartbeat. 

    And before you compare Kovalchuk's numbers to Heatley, consider their linemates.

  6. cam7777 says:

    6.5 is just the hit though, the actual salary would be much more masive thanks to the term.

  7. LeafsneedSteen says:

    Yeah but Jersey's offer makes more sense because he'll be able to sign another contract after that one.  The LA deals low ball him because it could force an early retirement, he'd be sacrificing control over his career. 

    The last time we say a relatively big name UFA hold out this long was Souray and Lou was offering big money and we saw Edmonton come in out of nowhere, so fingers crossed.

  8. nordiques100 says:

    With the way he is jerking around two teams, possibly refusing big, but cap friendly deals, its just getting tiresome.

    me thinks he wants his average salary to be between Ovechkin's and Malkin's.

    Ovey makes 9.5 per, Malkin 8.7 per.

    its perception and he wants the acknowledgment of being paid with all the other great players in the NHL.

    its not enough for him to know he'd probably make an average of 12 mil per over the next 5 seasons. He wants to be right up in the top 5 when the rankings come out on who makes the highest average salary.

    A cap hit of like say 5 mil would put him under Tomas Plekanec for example in terms of average salary. He assumes he is better so he wants to be higher than Pleks.

    that is the kind of perception he is giving off with all this hoopla. he's a prima donna.

    I am just waiting for the Rangers brass to give Slats the green light to bury Roszival and Redden in the minors and grab Kovalchuk.

  9. hockey_lover says:

    [quote] that is the kind of perception he is giving off with all this hoopla. he's a prima donna {quote}

    Aaaand there it is. Thats EXACTLY it.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    As a Leaf fan, i dont want him anymore.

    Not that there was any hope, but there are still fans out there clamouring for this guy.

    why? he's all about Kovalchuk. The Leafs are ready to rid themselves of the last of the Muskoka 5, those 5 guys who gave off the attitude of me first then leafs a distant second.

    can you see Burke wanting this guy? i dont and i see several other GMs, cap space or not, feeling the same way.

    i could so see this guy if he came to Toronto pull the old Heatley and want out when things get tough. And believe me, they'd be tough here in Toronto, especially for the non-Canadian players who arent named Clarkie or Darcy or Gary or Dougie.

    I only see a crazy fool like Slats getting in between this some how some way.

  11. leafy says:

    Sad day. George Steinbrenner has died at age 80. R.I.P.

    P.S. I heard George and Kramer are going to the funeral. Calzones are being served afterwards.

  12. nordiques100 says:

    he is considered greedy because he wants that high average salary like Ovechkins and Malkins

    Ovey = 9.5
    Malkin = 8.7

    He wants at least that in terms of average. NO team is going to give that to him because simply he isnt better than those two.

    Malkin, a winner, won trophies, won the conn smythe
    Ovechkin, league MVP, scoring champ.
    Kovalchuk, 50 goal man but no championships, 1 playoff win

    teams are happy to give him 100 mil, but at least have 13-14 years on the contract.

    That would put him around 7.1 if he signed for 14 years. For some reason he is offended by that and i dont think that is correct.

    14 years will get him to age 41. even if they frontloaded the deal where he averages 11 mil per for the first 8 years and 2 the remaining 6, the perception is that he thinks that is insulting.

    to put this in perspective, Crosby and Malkin signed identical deals for 5 years where the average was 8.7 mil.

    in the first 4 years they got 9 mil in each of those 4 years.

    For the kovalchuk example, he'd average 11 mil per for the 1st 8 years and get 11 mil per season.

    tell me you wouldnt want Crosby and Malkin over Kovalchuk.

    fact is those two guys won. fact is Kovalchuk has won all of ONE playoff game in his life.

    wouldnt that cap hit of 7.1 be lovely? as in lovely for teams who are close to the cap but would have just enough to fit that in?

    or, is that a non-starter because Gomez makes an average of 7.3 mil?

    to many of us, that is idiotic.

    and as for your explanation on the devils deal being better…..not for the Devils. who the heck is he going to play with when they have to dump Arnott, Elias, Zajac and others just to keep him and Parise at both 7-9 mil cap hits? plus brodeur, plus volchenkov and then plus a whole lot of minimal contracts.

    See Chicago Blackhawks.

  13. leafy says:

    Well put. My thoughts exactly.

  14. DannyLeafs says:

    I am not going to try and say that he definitely isn't greedy, but I think it is a bit much to just assume that is the only story here. He was making a cap hit of 7.5 million, so the fact that he is looking for more than that should be a given. Realistically, he is looking at making a decision that will determine the outcome of his entire career and very likely the next decade of his life. I hold nothing against him for taking 2-3 weeks to make this decision.

    Personally I don't think these meetings are just about money. He is probably actually discussing each teams future and how things could unfold in the future. It could be just pure greed, but I don't think that is it. If it were, he would have taken either the SKA deal or the NYI deal already. I really think he is really trying to find the right fit.

  15. hockey_lover says:

    I hear exactly what you are saying.  Just one thing I wanted to comment on …

    Even if Crosby and Malkin HADNT won a championship .. how many GM's wouldnt prefer either one of them over Kovy.

    Ok sure .. Malkin had what can be considered a bad year and at times looks a bit lazy and complacent. But no one can deny his talent level at all .. which is, clearly, higher than Kovy.   Take Ovechkin .. he hasnt won squat except for individual awards and I wouldnt even bat an eyelash at taking him over Kovy.

    Its just insane how much this guy thinks he's worth.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    Kovy's cap hit was 6.4.

    he EARNED 7.5 mil last year and the year previous to that.

    so like i my example, if he EARNED 10-11 mil for like 7-8 years but had his cap hit be around 6.5-7.5 how is that horrible for him?

    to me, all this jockeying says to me he WANTS a CAP HIT aka AVERAGE SALARY  to be GREATER than Ovechkin or Malkin or Crosby.

    he is clearly trying to play two teams off eachother and i believe he is really looking for a 3rd team to bite. aka NY RANGERS.

    AND he wants that massive cap hit/average salary to boot.

  17. nordiques100 says:

    all i can think of is the EGO Tucker and Domi among others had being Leafs.

    Cripes remember Clarke Wilm complaining to the media he wasnt getting enough ice time? Give me a break.

    its that sense of entitlement the Leafs are shedding.

    Kovalchuk seems to epitomize entitlement and its all about me.

    His attitude doesnt fit what Burke is trying to build. A young, hungry team full of character.

    would his skills help. OF COURSE!

    but after seeing the Hawks continuously being dismantled, its disgusting to watch and i rather not see the Leafs fall in that same cycle.

    Burke, if anyone should know. Look at what happened in Anaheim where he was giving away players due to the cap crunch.

  18. hockey_lover says:

    If the leafs somehow end up on top and win a championship, inherently, the same thing will happen to them as what is happening to the Hawks. Its inevitable.

    Look at the Pens two years ago .. they lost Gill and Scuderi after they won the cup. They lost Malone after a breakout season.

    Hypotehtically, lets assume Caputi, Bozak and Kadri put up some really good numbers this coming season. Awesome. They will both want big raises the following year as they are up for renewal (except for Kadri .. dont know what his contract status is .. but the other two are RFA/UFA after this season). They each put up … 70 points. The Leafs make it to the semi's. Those three players are going to want FAT raises. No, not Kovy money but likely something in the area of 4.5mil a year. Then what? Burke will have built this young team with character only to have to dismantle it because of the salary cap.

    Just saying that the Leafs new vision/build plan isnt ammune to the reality of a salary cap. No team is unfortunately.

    Its funny .. for YEARS I was all gung ho about a salary cap. Now that the Pens have Sid and Malkin and Staal, Im a bit "man, I wish there was no cap so they could get some wingers." The logical part of me realizes its best for the league and I am glad its there but some days .. man, do I not wish it.

  19. leafy says:

    I hated the cap from Day 1, and years ago I said that the people who like the cap now will hate it later.  Just like I said, it's happening.

    The cap is a piece of garbage. There should only be a cap on the amount spent on unrestricted free agents per year. NOT a TEAM cap. 

  20. leafy says:

    Sorry, I posted this in the wrong place. Here we go.

    I hated the cap from Day 1, and years ago I said that the people who like the cap now will hate it later.  Just like I said, it's happening.

    The cap is a piece of garbage. There should only be a cap on the amount spent on unrestricted free agents per year. NOT a TEAM cap.

  21. hockey_lover says:

    I personally dont hate it. Occasionally, when I see Sid or Malkin make that picture perfect pass and either Guerin whiffs on it or Fedotenko trips over the goal line, I sorta with that the cap wasnt there and those passes were going to Iginla or Nash. But such is life.

    I think that overall, the cap is a good thing for the league. I wouldnt expect a fan of the Leafs, the Rangers, or the Wings to like the cap … since those teams were an example of the big spenders. Of course you wouldnt want a cap. MLSE has deep pockets and Burke would have having a field day with an "unlimited budget."

    But here's the rub … many Blue Jays fans wish there was a cap in baseball because they cant compete with the Yankees and Red Sox … teams who's owners are willing to spend endlessly. The Jays DONT have an owner that is willing to spend $150mil on payroll.

  22. leafy says:

    The cap is definitely not in the best interest of the Leafs so naturally I dread it for that alone. 

    But I still don't see the logic of making teams that drafted and developed good players end up having to trade/lose players just because of the cap. 

    Instead they should be targetting high UFA spenders who sign players like Bobby Holik to a $9M/yr contract.

    Let's say Chicago is lucky and somehow drafts 2 or 3 more guys like Toews and Kane. I don't think it's fair that they should be made to trade Toews or Kane or Keith just because of that. They should be allowed to keep all the good players they drafted and developed. The current system just doesn't have logic in my view.

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