Former New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk took to social media yesterday to share his latest whereabouts and, in the process, ignited a firestorm of rumors, conjecture and speculation. That’s because Kovalchuk shared a photo of him and Dallas Stars forward Alex Radulov with the caption, "Scout from Dallas has arrived ????,” in Russian.
Check it out:
So… what can we gleam from this? Is Kovalchuk in Dallas to visit Radulov? Or are the two Russian stars meeting in their home country? No official word, but the speculation is that both men are currently in Russia for their offseason.
For what it’s worth, Stars fans seem absolutely thrilled with the prospect of their team landing Kovalchuk in free-agency this upcoming offseason. The 35 year old former 1st overall pick has made it clear that he’ll be returning to the NHL in 2018-19 after a five year sojourn in the KHL in which he claimed two Gagarin Cup championships with St. Petersburg SKA.
And for those saying that a 35 year old Kovalchuk won’t be able to keep up or produce at the NHL level, keep in mind that he was once again the KHL’s leading scorer this past season. In 53 games, Kovalchuk potted 31 goals and 63 points. Not bad… not bad at all. While no one’s expecting him to return to 50 goal status in the NHL, it’s clear that he still has some offensive punch and could help a team like the Stars get over the struggles that they’ve had in recent seasons.
Of course, Kovalchuk has also been linked to the rebuilding New York Rangers in several reports and it’s expected that several will teams will ultimately end up making an appeal for his services once the NHL free-agency period officially gets underway on July 1st, 2018.
So… Kovalchuk on a wing alongside Radulov? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Likely? Who knows… but at the very least it’s an intriguing proposition. If in fact Kovalchuk has interest in the Stars you have to imagine that general manager Jim Nill will pick up the phone to talk details. Stay tuned.