Could the New York Islanders be ready to make the biggest splash so far in the free agent market?
According to NHL Insider Darren Dreger, there are rumblings that the club may make a lucrative, long term contract offer to forward Ilya Kovalchuk. One such source says that an offer could be in the 10-year, $100 million range. According to Dreger, however, most pundits still feel Los Angeles is the likely destination for Kovalchuk, even if the Islanders give it their best shot.
Late on Friday, Islanders general manager Garth Snow confirmed to ESPN via a text message that the club was involved in talking to Kovalchuk.
The Islanders are currently under the salary cap floor, and a large deal for Kovalchuk would help in that effort. A signing of that nature and star power could also help owner Charles Wang to get his stalled arena project back on track.
The 27-year old Russian sniper scored 41 goals and 43 assists in 76 regular season games with the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils last season.
The Islanders are no strangers to long term deals, having signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal in 2006, and Alexei Yashin to a 10-year deal in 2001.