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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks, Ilya Kovalchuk Are Not A Future Match

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Nov 8, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (from left to right) Geraldine Heaney and Brendan Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer and Chris Chelios and Ray Shero (representing Fred Shero) drop the ceremonial face off to New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) prior to the start of the game between the Devils and Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (from left to right) Geraldine Heaney and Brendan Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer and Chris Chelios and Ray Shero (representing Fred Shero) drop the ceremonial face off to New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) prior to the start of the game between the Devils and Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ilya Kovalchuk is apparently ready to make his return to the NHL ranks, but the Chicago Blackhawks will not be the next team to acquire him

The big news in the professional hockey is that Ilya Kovalchuk is returning to the NHL. Kovalchuk had retired from the NHL in 2012-13, leaving behind teams like the Chicago Blackhawks to return to Russia. He has played with SKA St. Petersberg  in the Kontinental Hockey League ever since.

Many believed that when Kovalchuk retired from the NHL to play in the KHL, he would eventually return. Jaromir Jagr did it, and to a lesser extent Alexander Radulov did it.

There are a lot of logistical things to work out before Kovalchuk can return to the NHL.

Chicago Blackhawks

The bottom line is a team must trade with New Jersey, his most recent NHL team, to acquire his rights and have a sign-and-trade deal worked out in advance.

Did everyone get all of that?

Kovalchuk’s NHL history

Kovalchuk was one of top NHL talents from 2001-02 to 2012-13. He recorded 816 points in 816 games. He scored 52 goals twice in a season during that time period. He also recorded at least 41 goals in six of his 11 seasons. The last time the Devils made the playoffs was with Kovalchuk on the roster.

He continued to produce in Russia.

Why the Blackhawks will not be bidding

Before anyone gets crazy, let’s be real. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman “checks in” on everyone, so he will be “checking in” on the Kovalchuk bidding war, but he will not be a serious contender. Here are several reasons why the Blackhawks will not bid on Kovalchuk:

  • His price tag: Radlouv got $5.75 million at the age of 30. Jagr got $5.4 million at 35 with an AAV of $3.5 million. The Blackhawks will be right up against the cap next season and cannot afford his demands. The Hawks also cannot afford to trade a high pick for an aging forward.
  • Age: He will be 35 years old next season. The Blackhawks do not need a scoring-only forward aged 35-plus. The Blackhawks’ average age is 28.19 with Marian Hossa at 38 years old. The NHL is getting younger and faster, which the Blackhawks need to continue to drive toward.
  • Position:

    The Blackhawks have young forwards to hopefully fill voids up front, but they need defensive prospects and NHL-ready defenders.

    Next: Blackhawks' Stan Bowman Has Defensive Problem

    Everyone be speculating where Kovalchuk ends up until a deal is made by July 1.

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