As we sit here waiting for the Kovalchuk sweepstakes to end, the rumors continue to circulate the NHL. Once he is signed, the dominoes are expected to begin falling. Teams will be trading and signing free agents again, filling up the roster with any unused cap space.
For now, General Managers are sitting still, waiting for someone to sign the Russian forward. How much is Kovalchuk actually worth?
Signing a long term contract is a huge risk for any team. The Islanders singed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year contract, but we have yet to see that pay off at all. DiPietro has started 12 games in the past two years, but still has plenty of time to live up to his contract.
Being the first overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft immediately brings in high expectations. Then, signing a ridiculous long term contract shines the spotlight even brighter.
One year later, in 2001, Ilya Kovalchuk was selected 1st overall by the Atlanta Thrashers. His statistics were quite impressive as he put up 51 points in his rookie season. Since then, he has collected at least 67 points in each of his last seven seasons.
His career best season came in 2005-2006, when he put up 98 points in 78 games, along with 56 power play points and seven game winning goals.
Kovalchuk has proved that he will live up to the high expectations with his consistent offensive abilities. He can easily become the center of any franchise, but who will pay for him?
Whoever does sign Kovalchuk better be extremely cautious. The 17 year, $100 million dollar rumored contract is not the way to go.
While he has shown how well of a player he is, Kovalchuk is not worth that much money, at least not yet. NHL players should be paid based on how well they are doing in the last few years with that team.
I understand that it would be nice to know that Kovalchuk is locked up long term, and I would be excited if he were on my team. All it would take is one injury that would cause him to miss a season, that could effect his career.
What has he done so far? At this point he is a scoring forward that will earn 80-90 points per year. He has also scored 642 points in 621 career games.
If you were a General Manager, how much would you be willing to sign Kovalchuk for?