5/15/18 | Mika Zibanejad, in an interview with IZ.RU said that he would be "happy" to see Ilya Kovalchuk join the Rangers but that he doesn't know how likely that is. Zibanejad said that questions about Kovalchuk should be directed to GM Jeff Gorton and that all he is thinking about right now is how to help Sweden win at the World Championships. (IZ.RU)
5/11/18 | Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that it would be a "significant" mistake if the Rangers did not pursue Ilya Kovalchuk. (NY Post)
Brooks writes that Kovalchuk is the exact type of player that the Rangers are missing and competes, leads and plays with a chip on his shoulder. (NY Post)\
Brooks continues, "he is the perfect fit for this team that is looking for a peg on which it can hang a new core. He would become a vital piece in short-cutting a building process that can and often does take forever" and noted that Kovalchuk has wanted to join the Rangers. (NY Post)
Rick Carpiniello writes that the Rangers are interested in Kovalchuk but only if the contract doesn't go past two years. (The Athletic)
Jeff Gorton confirmed recently that the Rangers have touched base with Kovalchuk and that the thought around the league is that Kovalchuk will ultimately sign with them.
Marty Brodeur played with Kovalchuk in New Jersey and said that he was one of the most "engaged guys" in the Devils locker room and "really cares about winning and the the guys on his team." (NY Post)
Kovalchuk had 201 points in 222 games with the Devils and was an alternate captain in New Jersey.
Brodeur said that he only has good things to say about Kovalchuk and that if he returns to the NHL next season he will likely be a "very good player" for the team that signs him. (NY Post)
Brooks wrote earlier in the spring that Kovalchuk could potentially be a mentor to fellow Russians Pavel Buchnevich, Vlad Namestnikov and Alex Georgiev along with his current SKA teamamtes and Rangers prospects Igor Shesterkin and Yegor Rykov. (NY Post)
Kovalchuk was the captain for SKA in the KHL from 2013-2016 before being stripped of the "C" and benched for two games. (The Hockey News)
He was an alternate captain with the Devils and Thrashers.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers are not going to enter into any deal with Ilya Kovalchuk cold. Management watched him up close during his time with the Devils and since he went to the KHL he has been teammates at various times with Pavel Buchnevich, Igor Shesterkin and Yegor Rykov. The Rangers will know exactly what they are getting if they decide to go after him and with how careful they are going to be with their young players and how the roster is constructed, they won't add him if they don't think he will be a positive influence on and off the ice.