The Los Angeles Kings appear to be out of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes again.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Kings have decided to turn down the latest counter proposal from Kovalchuk's agent Jay Grossman.
On Wednesday, the Times quoted Kings general manager Dean Lombardi as saying the team had 're-engaged' in negotiations to land the free agent sniper. But the Times reported on Thursday the Kings cannot afford to sign Kovalchuk without the risk of losing their young stars down the road.
"We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players," Kings' governor Tim Leiweke told the LA Times. "Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can't let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap."
The Kings publically broke off talks with Kovalchuk on Sunday after reportedly making more than one offer without ever receiving a counter offer.
Earlier this week, rumours swirled that the New Jersey Devils were on the verge of signing Kovalchuk to a seven-year, $60 million contract.