Pierre LeBrun also noted that Kovalchuk is holding up the trade market, specifically around Jeff Skinner and that teams with interest in both players are waiting to see what Kovalchuk decides to do. (TSN)
6/12/18 | 4:05PM: Craig Custance writes at The Athletic that the Rangers have "long interested" Kovalchuk and that if he can be convinced the Rangers have a "legitimate shot at winning" within the next three-years or so they could become a "real option." (The Athletic)
9:19AM: Pierre LeBrun notes that the hope from Kovalchuk's camp is to have an agreement with a team following the draft but before July 1. (The Athletic)
He believes that the top contenders for Kovalchuk are LA, Boston, the Rangers and San Jose. He notes that there is a second group of teams with interest that is believed to be Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas and Anaheim. (The Athletic)
6/9/18 |6:13PM: Kovalchuk is in California this weekend and visited with the Kings yesterday and will visit with the Sharks tomorrow. (Dreger)
6/2/18 | Pierre LeBrun writes that Kovalchuk will have to weigh where the Rangers are as a franchise right now and his desire to win. (The Athletic)
6/1/18 | 12:51PM: Kovalchuk's agents have spoken with at least eight teams and anticipate that the number will increase as we get closer to July 1. (TSN)
Darren Dreger said that it's believed Kovalchuk is looking for a 2-3 year deal worth around $6.25 million per season. (TSN)
Kovalchuk told Dreger that his main motivation is to win and that he will be "selective" when looking through offers. (TSN)
5/30/18 | It was reported last night that Ilya Kovalchuk has switched agents and joined up with CAA to represent him as he returns to the NHL. (Dreger)
Darren Dreger tweeted that JP Barry, one of the top NHL agents, is in discussions with teams about Kovalchuk.
Bob McKenzie said on TSN 1050 this morning that, his guess, is that Kovalchuk is likely to get a two-year deal to return to the NHL.
In speaking about Kovalchuk, McKenzie said, "there are a lot of people who thought that the Rangers are a team he wants to play for and that he might be predisposed to work and live in Manhattan and I think that even though the Rangers are in a rebuild, it's more of a soft-rebuild and while they are infusing their lineup with all of these young players, and more to come, they are looking at other things they can do to keep the team competitive and make it a shorter rebuild than a longer rebuild."
McKenzie noted that there is some risk associated with Kovalchuk in that since he would be signing an over-35 contract, if at any point he decides not to fulfill the length of it, the money would still count against the cap.
Jeff Gorton confirmed at the Draft Lottery that he had touched base with reps for Kovalchuk.
There is a belief that the Islanders will be players for Kovalchuk after hiring Lou Lamoriello. Lamoriello signed Kovalchuk to a 15-year deal in New Jersey.
Adam Rotter: The belief, for a while, with Kovalchuk has been that he wants to play for the Rangers. There were rumors of that when he was a free agent years ago with the Devils, rumors of it last summer and they have been the team most connected to him as he plots to return to the NHL this summer. The Rangers are also believed to have a good amount of interest in Kovalchuk, so there is definitely a match. It's the whole "wanting to win" and challenge for a Stanley Cup that might make it difficult for Kovalchuk to sign with the Rangers. I certainly expect the Rangers to challenge for a playoff spot next season, though that is really just wishful thinking because we don't know how the roster will be constructed, but there will certainly be teams with a better chance to win. The interesting team is obviously the Islanders since they brought in Lou Lamoriello. If they can convince John Tavares to stay, use their two first round picks to acquire defense and goalie help, all the sudden might become attractive to live on Long Island or Brooklyn rather than Westchester or Manhattan. The Rangers will make a push for Kovalchuk but I don't expect them to have the highest offer or the longest term. I think they still have to be considered one of the favorites, if not the favorite, but he will need to buy into the plan Jeff Gorton, Chris Drury and David Quinn are putting together.