Ilya Kovalchuk To Return, Should Chicago Be Interested?

A big name has just jumped into the 2017 NHL free agent class: Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk, 34, had 32 goals and 46 assists in 60 games with St. Petersburg in the KHL during the 2016-17 season. He last played in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, in which he posted 11 goals and 20 assists in 37 games. He “retired” and has been in the KHL for the last four seasons.

Could the Blackhawks consider Kovalchuk? Should they?

It’s worth noting that Kovalchuk was a teammate of Artemi Panarin’s with St. Petersburg for two years (2013-14 and 2014-15). He also played with Vadim Shipachev, who recently became the second player to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights expansion team.

Kovalchuk’s last NHL contract was the record (and rule) breaking 15-year, $100M deal he signed with New Jersey in 2010. He would have carried a $6,666,667 cap hit until the 2024-25 season under that deal.

The Blackhawks need to cut salary, and Kovalchuk would be signing a new deal. What the Devils would want in return and his cap hit are two massive questions that would need answering for the Hawks to be in the mix.

Chicago needs to get younger and faster, so bringing in a 34-year-old would seem counterproductive. But his relationship with Panarin can’t be ignored.

42 thoughts on “Ilya Kovalchuk To Return, Should Chicago Be Interested?

  • May 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Let’s not forget he was also teammates with Hossa in Atlanta for 3 seasons.

  • May 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    His skill level is so high, if he played on the 2nd line Kane could reunite with Toews for the nuclear option all season long. Would any of our expensive core players waive their no move clause to go to New Jersey though?

  • May 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Absolutely NOT, this is exactly the move the Hawks should NOT make. If anyone in the Hawks Org thinks the Hawks were a Kovalchuk away they are fooling themselves. This team needs to get younger period.

  • May 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Agree 100% Southside.

  • May 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I can’t imagine how it would ever be doable cap wise.

  • May 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Note: cap wise, Kovalchuk doesn’t have a contract right now. His previous deal was voided when he hypothetically retired to the KHL. So we don’t know his cap hit, which is what makes a potential deal for him intriguing for many teams.

  • May 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    in watching the current cup games it is very clear that the up and coming teams are the younger faster teams like edm, nash and tor. very good very middle aged very cap challenged teams like chi stl & probably anaheim are going the way of all flesh.

    to add an older expensive slowing player, no matter how gifted, is the exact wrong direction to go for the hawks and any other team that wants to compete in the near term future nhl.

    this particular player has a very consistent reputation of ignoring rules, ridiculing teammates and coaches and breaking his word and his contract on personal selfish whims. I hope one of our arch rivals signs him because he will destroy their locker room and their team’s chances and screw up their cap in one fell swoop.

  • May 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Jeez, while we’re at it, let’s find out what Theo Fluery is up to!

  • May 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    A resounding NYET under any and all considerations. This guy, especially at his age and also considering his lack of interest in playing a committed 200′ game, would just be another Russian who goes AWOL when it matters most.
    Repeat…NYET way.

  • May 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Buccigross predicted he’d get 60-70 points next year, that’d put him 3rd on the team last year. We’d have to get younger on D to clear space for him, whose speed needs more improvement than our forwards. I think it could work.

  • May 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    There is about a 3% chance this would happen for a variety of different reasons. If Stan values his job as the GM of the Blackhawks he wouldn’t even entertain this idea unless NJ was asking for a back of hockey pucks in return.

  • May 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm


  • May 9, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Tab… Put that Bong away!!!

  • May 9, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    HBF: it depends on the size of the bag.

  • May 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    No thank you ……we dont need another 33-35 years old ..
    We need two three young warriors who can shock the Team …

  • May 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Heard the way it will work is it will be a sign and trade scenario. He’ll be 34 with a lot of teams interested. We saw what Radulov got and he was a relatively unproven and volatile commodity. I’d be stunned if it happens. It’d be nice, but with the cap…no way

  • May 9, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Huge if. But let’s say the Hawks are interested. Lets forget about ntc’s. With the Devils trading away Larson, you’d think they’d like a D. If everyone gets their wish the Hawks would be in need of some sort of Forward if Kruger is taken via expansion. Everyone here knows how I feel about Seabrook. If he’s traded you’re left with a giant hole on D.

    But since I’m in the minority. What would the term have to be for Kovalchuck to trade Seabrook for him. An extreme hypothetical, but unfortunately we don’t have much else to talk about. So…would Kovalchuk for 3 years@4.5m for Seabrook tickle your fancy?

    Erie lost. Mississauga with 2 goals in the 3rd to come back to win it. Debrincat with 2 points. Otters up 2 games to 1

  • May 10, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Personally I wouldn’t mind if up front seeing them start next season with
    8, 19,88
    72, 15, 81
    38,67/70,40 ( young and physical)
    64/48, fortin,13 ( young and fast)
    Use any cap space if there is room for defensive depth and a good cap friendly backup for Crawford

  • May 10, 2017 at 6:41 am

    They need to be ‘different’ and that may be a combination of some player changes, increased use of grit and speed and improved coaching around specialty roles. Another top 3 or 4 d-man to add some nasty would help. They need a fresh approach, can Q give them that? Not sure. (everybody has their shelf life)
    What will give 19, 2 and 88 the spark to want this?
    (and a good back up cause 50 could get hurt and then what?)

    Might try to get to Hersey Centre for OHL game tonight.

  • May 10, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Just to clarify I don’t think Q is the reason-he is a great coach. But he has his set ways and players eventually tune people out, especially if things aren’t being productive. (With some coaches, even if they are-like a Keenan or a Hitch)
    Can he adjust?

  • May 10, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I agree the younger and faster the better and if Fortin and Dcat can push for spots and send Desjardins, Tootoo, Rosy packing. Not sure what it would cost for Condon as the backup but that might be a thought.

    Sea Dogs win again 2-0 (back to back shutouts) and are up 3-0 for the Presidents Cup, so it looks good they are going to the Memorial Cup. Now come on Erie.

  • May 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Guy’s, do some research on this guy.

    He’s never been anything near a consistent 2-way player, can get lazy and pout if things don’t go well for him and he’s said to always turn into a malignancy in the locker room.

    SB would be nuts.

    No F’in way!

  • May 10, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Condon, Budaj, Hellberg, Kinkaid, Bernier

    Dallas just traded for Ben Bishop. One of the more over rated guys out there. That would tell me they’re likely to buy out one of Lehtonen or Niemi.

  • May 10, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Greg, the year before the lockout when they went to the Final against LA. Under Deboer much was made of his willingness in the playoffs to play the 2-way game. But yeah, he’s always had that Russian stigma. And that’s because he played the part so well.

  • May 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I would rather see Morin return for a third time than this guy. Pass.

    As far as back up goalie, Bowman will find someone decent at worst at minimum or near minimum salary/cap hit. Ray Emery take II? Niemi if he gets bought out on a PTO? Mike Veisor?

  • May 10, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Trade Seabs to St .Louis get them to throw in Yakupov , you thought he would be a good fit with the Hawks last year eh Ernie . Then put Nail ,Kovalchuk and Hossa on a line together . That would pretty much sum up how Hoss was used lately .

  • May 10, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Agreed-NO to the Russian
    –and Hossa will turn 39 next year. Eventually he’ll need McDavid and Wayne Simmonds to have a good year. (with all due respect to the future Hall of Famer)

    The return of Jeremy?

  • May 10, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Ron Jeremy perhaps .

  • May 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    If the price was right I thought Yakupov could have been an upgrade to what the Hawks had. A stopgap until others were ready.

    I was wrong.

  • May 10, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Seabrook is not going anywhere so stop wishing for that to happen.
    Kovalchuk is not coming to Chicago…..Tab just keeping the dialog going???
    Good draft or not, glad Hawks have 7 picks in the first 5 rounds.
    Hawks are experts picking in the middle rounds. Lots of experience there.
    Not every Hawk needs to be a speed demon. Mix youth and speed with exp.
    Both games tonight will be a classics.

  • May 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Kovalchuk on the second line would be a great fit, as long as the money is fair to both sides. We live in a salary cap structure that prohibits expensive signings. Also we need to address an aging defense this off season.

  • May 10, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Erie wins-up 3 to 1–D-Cat played well (goal, assist)
    It looks good GBladz

  • May 10, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    We need tackle and go fast players. Nothing else can compete with the advantage these types of teams get from that. Then the top 5 teams at hockey will win again like 2008-2015.

  • May 10, 2017 at 10:01 pm


  • May 10, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    We need tackle and go fast players
    What does this mean again?

  • May 10, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    We need 21 year old Canadian kids with passion , Ritchie for the Ducks scores biggest goal of his life . Game 7 winner ,.,.wow .I just remembered we were resting players when the Ducks kicked our asses with 5 games left in the regular season . Big lack of passion and want on the Hawks right now ,to complacent , Shake it up time is here .

  • May 11, 2017 at 7:32 am

    That’s great to hear Noonan. The Sea Dogs wrapped it up last night with a 5-1 win and sweep Blainville 4-0 for the President’s Cup and a spot in the Memorial Cup. Noel 1 A FO 8/14, Highmore 1G 2A FO 15/28

  • May 11, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Regardless of how many 21 year old Canadians you have, you still need veterans. ANA is not going to the WCF because of rookies. Sure they play a part, even a big part. But in the end ANA, the much older team prevailed.

    The Hawks have a lot of problems, but age is not the Hawks biggest challenge. I maintain that the Hawks were embarrassed by physical and mental fatigue. Yes, yes there are some bad contracts on the books but 2 or 3 good draft choices/signings will not make the Hawks SC contenders in 2018. A rested, focused core will win more games than a bunch of 21 year old Canadians, USAs or Russians.

    The Hawks core is still the envy of the league. Had they played to their potential, these blogs would be a lot different today.

  • May 11, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Couple of random thoughts after watching last night’s game 7s.

    The Caps are a bigger mess then the Hawks moving forward. That’s a veteran team that failed yet again.I’d move Ovie to Las Vegas and turn the page. No doubt MePhee would take his old mvp.

    The Pens will roll Ottawa

    The Ducks have a nicely constructed team w 2 shut down centers, veteran leadership up front and a young skilled blue line. I think they take Nashville in 6 games(everyone’s new favorite team).

    I wouldn’t mind Nemo returning as a backup.

    Seabrook or another significant salary needs to be moved this offseason. Toss in some picks and move him to Vegas.

  • May 11, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Ovi will be trade to the Hawks for Toews …euhhhh …. would benefit both team and both players …. ;)
    We would really need a big young strong Dman who can hit to replace Seabrook..
    Still think Hawks will make a big trade with a few players involve …3-4 players ….
    Hossa not happy with IQ and many players are not happy for long time with IQ …maybe time to move for another Coach this year or next year..

  • May 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

    so Panik resigns with the Hawks for 2 years at 2.8 mill AAV

  • May 12, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Please…………..we don’t want “Ovi” or “Kovi” on the Hawks!! Both have high talent and skill, but NO HEART!!

    Adam Oates was right, you will never win a championship with a guy like “Ovi”. He is NOT willing to do what it takes to win.

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