Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kovalchuk Returns in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Kings have made a big splash, nabbing the verbal agreement to sign forward Ilya Kovalchuk, as he makes his return to the NHL after five years away in the KHL.

The 35-year old needed to retire to get out of his contract with the New Jersey Devils and he had to wait until he was 35 before he could sign a new free agent contract in the NHL, so all of that came around this spring and now he has signed a 3-year, $18.75 million deal.  The deal is of the 35+ variety, which is a pretty big gamble for the Kings, given that they will be on the hook for his cap hit, if he decides to bail early.

In Russia, the veteran forward has been fairly prolific, scoring over a point-per-game in each of his last two seasons in St. Petersberg, his 2018 campaign was 31 goals and 63 points in 53 games, something that the Los Angeles Kings could really use in the coming season.

The Kings are already looking like they are getting close to wrapping up their opening night roster and we're still at the end of June.  The projected roster below will likely still be tinkered with, but it already looks pretty solid.

Forwards Cap Defense Cap Goalies Cap
Anze Kopitar 10.000 Drew Doughty 7.000 Jonathan Quick 5.800
Ilya Kovalchuk 6.250 Dion Phaneuf 5.250 Peter Budaj 1.025
Dustin Brown 5.875 Alec Martinez 4.000
Jeff Carter 5.273 Jake Muzzin 4.000
Tyler Toffoli 4.600 Derek Forbort 2.525
Tanner Pearson 3.750 Daniel Brickley 0.925
Trevor Lewis 2.000 Oscar Fantenberg 0.650
Nate Thompson 1.650
Kyle Clifford 1.600
Alex Iafallo 0.925
Gabriel Vilardi 0.925
Adrian Kempe 0.894
Michael Amadio 0.718
Jonny Brodzinski 0.650

The Kings really needed that salary cap ceiling boost, which came earlier in the week, as they used all of it with this signing today.  My current projection for this team now shows them with only $812,000 in cap space remaining and that's with all 23 roster spots filled to this point.  Now we all wonder what kind of return the Kings will get for their huge investment.

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