The New York Rangers have been linked to Ilya Kovalchuk for quite some time, but it won’t be easy convincing him to come to New York.
Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t going to settle and just come to the New York Rangers if they know they aren’t winning.
In a report from Craig Custance of The Athletic, the Rangers will have to convince Kovalchuk that they have a “legitimate shot at winning.” The time frame that Custance points out would be winning within the next three years.
It shouldn’t be hard for the Rangers to convince Kovalchuk that they can win, and win now. They still have Henrik Lundqvist, perhaps the greatest goalie in franchise history. He showed last year that he is still capable of carrying a team o a respectable season. The difference last year was that the Rangers were bitten by the injury bug on defense, ultimately crumbling apart.
This offseason is going to be crucial for the Rangers who are in the midst of a rebuild. They traded away quality veteran players at the deadline and will be looking for someone to replace that.
Should the Rangers convince Kovalchuck to come to Broadway, they’ll be adding a talent that they really have never had. A true sniper, Kovalchuk scored 417 goals in 816 career games in the NHL. He scored 32 goals last season in the KHL for SKA St. Petersburg, playing with Rangers top prospect Igor Shestyorkin.
Kovalchuk expects to have a decision made about his status prior to unrestricted free agency starting on July 1, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. LeBrun also believes that Kings, Bruins, Sharks, Red Wings, Blues, Stars, and Ducks are in play for the 35-year-old.
Should a team fall out of the running for Kovalchuk, there are other scoring threats out there. But, Kovalchuk remains someone highly sought after.