Big contract lures Nabokov to KHL

Free agent goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is off the market and off to Russia for the next four years.

Nabokov signed a four-year, worth US$6-million contract with SKA Saint Petersburg, Sportsnet’s John Shannon confirmed Wednesday.

Nabokov, 34, became a free agent after San Jose decided not to re-sign the 10-year veteran.

The Russian goaltender posted a 44-26 record with a 2.43 goals against average last season, helping the Sharks reach the Western Conference final this year, where they were swept by Chicago.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2010/07/07/nabokov_russia_contract/

Devils must clear cap space to sign Kovalchuk

The Ilya Kovalchuk watch is becoming a saga, not surprising given his status as arguably the best-ever unrestricted free agent.

Still believed to have the inside track to sign the left wing, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello yesterday repeated his “status quo” mantra regarding his consistent desire to sign Kovalchuk, then added, “Nothing has changed today, yesterday or the day before.”

Interest in Gagne expected to pick up

The Flyers’ attempts to clear space under the salary cap by trading veteran left wing Simon Gagne appear to be indirectly related to the New Jersey Devils’ attempt to re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Devils reportedly are close to signing Kovalchuk to a seven-year, $60 million extension. Once that deal is finalized, other NHL teams in the running for Kovalchuk — namely, the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders — will need to look in another direction to add offense.

Flames' cap puzzle can be solved

The math adds up — with slightly more than US$1 million to spare.

As it stands, the Calgary Flames could say they don’t have salary cap problems — that is provided they’re willing to go with exactly 12 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies all season and don’t suffer injury problems.

Make that pretty much no injuries at all.

KOVALCHUK TO SIGN SEVEN-YEAR, $60M DEAL WITH DEVILS

According to a report, it appears that Ilya Kovalchuk is on the verge of re-signing with the New Jersey Devils.

The New York Post is reporting that the unrestricted free agent, who played the final 27 games of last season with the Devils, is going to sign a seven-year, $60 million contract with the team as soon as Monday.