Dec 17, 2019
Kovalchuk clears, becomes a free agent
Ilya Kovalchuk cleared unconditional waivers on Tuesday, allowing the Los Angeles Kings to terminate his contract and making him an unrestricted free agent.
Ilya Kovalchuk cleared unconditional waivers on Tuesday, allowing the Los Angeles Kings to terminate his contract and make him an unrestricted free agent.
The move ends a month-long standoff between the two sides, with Kovalchuk last appearing in a game on Nov. 9. The 36-year-old continued to skate and travel with the Kings before leaving the team on Monday.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, Kovalchuk's agent J.P. Baryy will begin the process of meeting with teams on Tuesday afternoon.
Kovalchuk received the final signing bonus in his contract on Sunday - for $2.65 million - and has only a salary of $700,000 remaining for this season. He will, however, continue to count against the Kings' salary cap at a hit of $6.25 million through next season.
The Russian winger scored three goals and posted nine points in 17 games with the Kings this season. He had 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games last season, his first since returning to the NHL after five years in the KHL.
He signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Kings in 2018 and was set to earn a salary of $4.25 million next season. His $6.25 million cap hit was third-highest on the Kings this season, behind Drew Doughty ($11 million) and Anze Kopitar ($10 million).
With Kovalchuk's contract still counting against the cap, the Kings have a total of $9.76 million in dead cap this season, with Dion Phaneuf's buyout ($2.19 million through 2022-23) and Mike Richards' cap recapture penalty ($1.32 million through this season).
A veteran of 897 career games, Kovalchuk has 436 goals and 859 points in the NHL.
The Kings are last in the Western Conference this season with a 14-18-3 record.