4/15/18 | Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers need Kovalchuk more than Kovalchuk needs the Rangers but that neither side can commit to anything until the Rangers have a head coach. (NY Post)
Kovalchuk can officially start talking with teams today but can not sign until July 1. (NY Post)
4/13/18 |5:09PM: Kovalchuk said in Russia today that he has not had any contact with any NHL teams but that teams have expressed interest. (Sports.Ru)
2:44PM: Darren Dreger said on the radio Friday that he does think Kovalchuk will sign with the Rangers but that it will likely be for a year or two, not three. (Fan Rag)
Dreger said that the Rangers have interest in Kovalchuk and that he hasn't heard of any other team with the same level of interest as the Rangers. (Fan Rag)
4/9/18 | 10:23PM: Larry Brooks writes that reports of Kovalchuk and the Rangers having a deal are "premature" as he doesn't become a free agent until 4/15 and the Rangers could be hit with tampering charges if it's proven they had prior communication. (NY Post)
Brooks writes that it's long been expected that Kovalchuk would return to the NHL with the Rangers. (NY Post)
11:15AM: Jeff Gorton said that he could not comment on any Kovalchuk rumor because he is still property of another team.
On the radio in Montreal today, Bob McKenzie said that he didn't doubt Kovalchuk would end up with the Rangers but that he doesn't believe the Rangers would give him a three-year deal. (FanRag)
7AM: Report: Ilya Kovalchuk to sign 2-3 year deal with Rangers
Ilya Kovalchuk is "set to sign" a 2-3 year deal with the Rangers, according to Russian reporter Igor Eronko.
He is expected to receive a cap hit in the range of $6 million per season. (Sports Express)
Kovalchuk has indicated that he plans to return to the NHL for next season when he is allowed to sign with any team as a UFA.
He can technically begin speaking with teams on April 15 but can not sign his new contract until July 1.
In the KHL this past season, Kovalchuk had 31 goals and 32 assists in 53 games, with 5 goals in six Olympic Games. In the playoffs he had 10 points in 15 games.
Adam Rotter: This didn't seem like as much of a slam dunk as Kevin Shattenkirk joining the Rangers, but it's long been assumed that this is where Kovalchuk wanted to play. Nothing can become official until July 1, and he isn't really supposed to talk to anyone until April 15, but this was going to be the expected outcome. If it's 2-years at between $12 million and $13 million it would be a pretty low risk deal that could net the Rangers a potential 30 goal scorer and hopefully be an example to follow for Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil and others.
You need veteran players and while the Rangers are rebuilding they will want to be competitive and will still want to make a run at the playoffs next year. A team comprised of 18-19-20 year wasn't going to happen but I'd still bet that young players 24 and under make up most of the roster and that there are still some players in their late 10s and early 20s.