“We’re going to just talk to his camp,” said general manager Don Sweeney to NHL.com. “He’s got things that he’s looking for and we’ll see where it goes.”
The 35-year-old plans on returning to the NHL for the upcoming 2018-19 season after spending the past five seasons in the KHL. This past season saw Kovalchuk win the scoring title with 31 goals and 63 points in 53 games. He’s not young, but Kovalchuk would be a lethal sniper next to Krejci and budding star Jake DeBrusk.
The KHL and NHL are two very different leagues. However, Sweeney showed no signs of concern with Kovalchuk.
“I don’t think it’s a problem integrating into the NHL,” exclaimed Sweeney. “How he fits onto your team, the dynamic there, where he plays, those are things that obviously are unknowns. You can project and predict, but until the coach gets him on the ice and puts him in places, you just never know. But as far as the NHL, no concern there.”
And there shouldn’t be; he was the first overall pick in 2001 and has 417 goals in 816 career NHL games.
The talent is obviously there but the money may not be. The B’s have around $7.9 million in cap space and it will rise to between $3 and $7 million when the NHL announces the new limit. They have aspirations to re-sign many of their UFAs.
The money would be there if they decided to ditch the idea of re-signing Rick Nash. Many look at the situation as the Bruins sign either Kovalchuk or Nash. Even Sweeney looks at it as impossible to sign both.
“Financially, I just don’t think it’s doable unless you’re really doing something to change things around to open things up,” said Sweeney of signing both veterans. “It’s more of the cap implications of exploring both those players. Any team would say ‘Well, boy we’re a better team.’ That’s just not realistic. I’ve been honest about that.”
Sweeney went on to address Nash directly.
“But we’ve had conversations with Rick’s camp as well,” Sweeney confirmed. “You just stay in communication. I think Rick enjoyed his time here. We enjoyed having him. The injury was a factor at times, but he represents a lot of stuff that we needed. So we’ve got to continue to explore those things, and see how the jigsaw puzzle fits.”
As the Bruins phase away from Nash, it seems as though they’re putting more and more attention on Kovalchuk’s end.
What could go wrong?