Well, tomorrow is clearly one of the biggest off-ice days of the year in the NHL world, the start of the free-agent signing period. Since the end of the season, I’ve been of the mind that the Kings will seek a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman, one through free agency and the other via trade (depending on the respective markets), but we shall see, starting tomorrow. The big fish on the free-agent market is clearly Ilya Kovalchuk. There’s reportedly strong mutual interest between Kovalchuk and the Kings, but will it get done? Remember that, this time last year, almost nobody thought Marian Hossa, last year’s big fish, would end up in Chicago.
The question is, how much would you pay Kovalchuk? I’m interested to know, so cast your vote below. And, does this quote from former Kovalchuk teammate Bobby Holik concern you? Holik told Craig Custance of The Sporting News, “I would be cautious as a GM signing him. If Kovy is willing to play No. 2 or No. 3 on the depth chart, that’s ideal. You have a super-talented player, but to build a team around him would be a mistake. … It’s not that Ilya doesn’t want to win, but he wants to play the way he wants to play.” Or does the same article, in which Bob Hartley, Kovalchuk’s former coach in Atlanta, offers tremendous praise for Kovalchuk’s talent, ease your mind?
Of course, I’ll be following on the action here on the blog tomorrow. I’m scheduled to be a guest on the SiriusXM Home Ice channel at 8:45 a.m., and then we’ll have a live chat starting at 9 a.m., which is when the signing period begins. Should be an interesting day!