It seems the writing is on the wall for Ilya Kovalchuk’s exit from the Los Angeles Kings franchise.
Russian sports journalist Igor Eronko reported Friday that the 36-year-old’s contract with the Kings will soon be terminated.
Kovalchuk has not skated for the Kings in a game since Nov. 9 against the Montreal Canadiens. On Nov. 12, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the forward had been told he will be “scratched for the foreseeable future,” and reports surfaced that Los Angeles had sought to trade Kovalchuk.
Eronko reported that Kovalchuk — who has three goals and six assists in 17 games played this season — still wishes to play in the NHL, but has a “lucrative” offer on the table from the KHL’s Omsk Avangard.
The Russian scorer may still have more to offer to contending NHL clubs, but the Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reported that teams have balked at trades with the Kings out of concern with the length of Kovalchuk’s deal, even if Los Angeles retains salary (he is signed through 2020-21).
“Termination has been discussed, but trade is the preferred route,” Pagnotta wrote on Twitter.
According to CapFriendly, three factors could play into a potential termination of the contract:
- Kovalchuk’s no-movement clause would not force him through waivers preceding termination.
- Because he signed his contract at age 35 or older, his $6.25 million salary cap hit would count against the Kings’ salary cap for the rest of this season and next.
- Kovalchuk himself would forfeit nearly $4.7 million in salary if his contract is terminated.
Kovalchuk, the first overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft, has scored 436 goals (859 points) in 897 games over 13 seasons in the NHL.