The Los Angeles Kings denied an online report that they would announce the signing of free agent Ilya Kovalchuk on Monday, and they stayed true their word, as there was no news on that front to start the week. The two sides remain in conversation, but no deal is imminent.
"Ilya Kovalchuk is coming to Los Angeles for face to face discussions, just like any free agent would. We are a long way from agreeing on a contract," general manager Dean Lombardi had told TSN on the weekend.
The Los Angeles Times was reporting that Kovalchuk would arrive in Southern California Sunday night for a Monday meeting where the team was hoping to convince the biggest remaining fish in the free agent pond to commit his future to the Kings in a deal that appeals to both sides.
The Kings, meanwhile, may be looking to sign him to a less expensive deal as several of their top young players, most notably Drew Doughty, will soon be eligible to become free agents.
The Kings have made headlines since the opening of the free agency season on July 1st by twice stating that they were out of the running for the Russian sniper, reportedly offering him deals of 12 years at $63 million and 13 years at $84.5 million. .
It is believed that the New Jersey Devils remain interested in re-signing the 27-year old Kovalchuk who had 41 goals and 44 assists in 76 games split between the Devils and Atlanta Thrashers last season. The New York Islanders have also shown interest.
Kovalchuk has already turned down a $100 million offer to re-sign with the Thrashers last season and also reportedly declined a multi-year contract from SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.