The Kovalchuk Problem
Any sports fan would want their team to acquire a player considered to be among the best in the league. That is a given. The only means of acquisition are through the entry draft, a trade with another franchise, or through free agency.
Kopitar $6.8 million
Smyth $6.25 million
Handzus $4 million
Stoll $3.6 million
Williams $3.5 million
Doughty $3.475 million
Scuderi $3.4 million
Brown $3.175 million
Greene $2.95 million
Quick $1.8 million
Johnson $1.425 million
That’s 20 players at just over $47 million, and of those 20, the players who were on the big club’s roster at the end of the season are comprised of 9 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 1 goalie. That means there are 9 positions to fill with under $10 million to do so.
Of course, there are capable candidates whom are already under contract in the system. The only player that is obviously ready for the NHL is Bernier, and look for a future article breaking down the options the Kings have at the goalie position for next season.
So clearly, saying that the Kings have the cap room is not quite that simple. Some significant salary would have to be dumped, and of those listed above, I’m not sure which one I’d want to move. The contracts are all pretty reasonable, and again, Doughty’s will likely be at least twice what it currently stands after this season.
Though the financial situation is the main concern, there are other issues to address.
This type of metaphor is accidentally becoming the theme of Crowned Royal, but the Kovalchuk problem is much like that of dating. Everyone wants to woo the hottest girl, but often times it is not worth the headaches that come with it. Sure she’ll look good on your arm and impress your friends, but with that may come demands for lavish gifts and constant attention. Worse yet, when it counts most, she may not be there to support you. (see Heatley, Dany)
Stay the course.
Oh Ilya. I would love to see him in a Kings jersey. I would rejoice upon hearing the news, I would bring a sign to the first game and I would probably even buy said jersey.
But the only way this would be good for more than just next season is if it was for the right terms: Dean’s terms. DL has never been one to back up the Brinks truck, and this type of conservative spending is one of the practices that has put the Kings in the favorable situation that they are in now. If he can somehow talk Kovalchuk into accepting less money for a shorter duration than other teams will be offer him, it would be nothing short of magic. Though not of nearly the same magnitude, Dean performed a similar trick with Jack Johnson, who’s $1.5 million/year contract was surprisingly low when it was announced, so perhaps anything is possible.
The reality of this is that it would be a miracle, and though the last miracle on ice did involve Russians on American soil, it took place on the other end of the country and that is perhaps where Ilya will remain.
Maybe I am getting old, because even a year ago I can’t imagine NOT doing anything in my power to go after the hot chick, regardless of the consequences. I guess with maturity comes the willingness to pass on an opportunity to take home a swimsuit model if it could jeopardize the future.
In Dean we trust.
Sources - lakingsinsider.com, nhlnumbers.com