Ilya Kovalchuk picks the Kings: Now what?

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Ilya Kovalchuk has made his decision. The 35-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings, with a cap hit of $6.25 million annually.official nfl jerseys cheap

The average annual value was something other teams could have offered. But much like with Patrick Marleau's near-identical free-agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, the Kings' willingness to add a third year to the deal was the difference.96

Vegas GM George McPhee denied after the first round of the draft that the Golden Knights were in discussions with Kovalchuk's agent JP Barry, so take that as you will. Signing the Russian winger would have been more a luxury than a necessity for Vegas, which has well over $30 million in cap space with which to play this summer.

The Sharks have cleared the decks for something during the past week. Paul Martin was put on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract, giving San Jose another $4.85 million in cap space. Combine that with the Mikkel Boedker trade, and the Sharks now have over $20 million in cap space. Some of that money will go to restricted free agent Tomas Hertl, and hopefully a bit more will go to unrestricted free-agent center Joe Thornton.

All indications are that this deck-clearing would be to make a run at star New York Islanders center John Tavares in free agency. Tavares is expected to speak with other teams during his UFA negotiating window next week. The top three choices for Tavares, according to Arthur Staple of The Athletic: the Sharks, Dallas Stars and Maple Leafs, with the Tampa Bay Lightning also a possibility. nike nfl jerseys for cheap Then there are of course the Islanders, who can offer him eight years and upwards of $100 million.

As for the Bruins, GM Don Sweeney indicated that Kovalchuk had "strong interest" in his club and the feeling was mutual. Boston has a need for a winger in its top six, one the Bruins felt they addressed when they acquired Rick Nash at the trade deadline last season. With Kovalchuk off the board, the chances Nash is back in Boston have increased, although the 34-year-old won't get anything close to his eight-year, $62 million deal that expires on July 1.

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