3/8/18| 6:49PM:On TSN's Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun said that the Rangers could be a potential fit for Ilya Kovalchuk this summer.
LeBrun said that it's believed that the Rangers showed some "mild interest" in Kovalchuk last year when the Devils still held his rights and that "what we are hearing is that the Rangers might potentially re-visit that interest on once he's UFA on July 1."
He added, "play him on a line with Namestnikov. Yea, the Rangers are rebuilding but they still have to sell tickets so that is a possibility."
Kovalchuk is a member of SKA in the KHL where he is teammates with Igor Shesterkin and Igor Rykov.
Kovalchuk was also briefly a teammate of Pavel Buchnevich prior to Buchnevich coming to the NHL.
It's been suggested that for the past two years, Kovalchuk's interest in returning to the NHL has been on joining the Rangers.
Adam Rotter: This is going to be a recurring topic from now until Kovalchuk actually signs to play somewhere. There are a ton of different factors that would go into Kovalchuk joining the Rangers, the biggest of which would be that his contract would be a 35+ contract that could potentially harm the Rangers as well as how much the Rangers want to invest both in term and money for him.
One thing about Kovalchuk is that the Rangers have likely seen most of his games in the KHL over the past couple of years as they keep tabs on Shesterkin. Seeing Shesterkin so much allowed the Rangers to get a good look at Rykov, and add him as a prospect, and I am sure the Rangers have a very good idea of the player Kovalchuk is and could still be. Kovalchuk could be helpful if the Rangers want to try and compete for a playoff spot next season while some of the younger players get their legs under them. If the cap hit is right and Kovalchuk wants to come to the Rangers, which is what many believe, it could be an interesting fit as long as it's short-term