Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the most interesting additions to this offseason’s free-agent pool and it appears as if almost a third of the league is interested in signing him.
Most of the teams have made sense so far. It has mostly been teams that may have a little bit of cap space to play with and could use a little more skill in their top 6. Based on his performance in the KHL, Kovalchuk should still be a key contributor in the NHL, but we don’t imagine he’ll be doing it for very long.
He is already 35 years old, so we can’t imagine seeing a contract going very long term. Darren Dreger recently said he may be looking for a Patrick Marleau-type deal which was three years and a $6.25M AAV. He has also said that his priority in the NHL will be winning. With all of that said, one of the last teams that comes to mind with that criteria is the Detroit Red Wings. But, here they are.
The Red Wings are just at the beginning of what may be a long rebuild, so it is somewhat puzzling for them to be pushing for a win-now type of talent. Their roster will remain mostly the same next year and we’re not sure that Kovalchuk will make up the 24-point gap between them and a playoff spot in 2017-18.
Fans around the league were pretty confused to hear about Detroit’s interest as well.