If the rumours are true, The Kings will be the team signing Ilya Kovalchuk to an $8-$9M long term contract this coming Thursday morning. And why wouldn't they? Acquiring one of the most prolific goal scorers in the NHL without giving up assets doesn't come around often. Los Angeles are poised to rise up the Western Conference rankings and as far as a major hockey market is concerned, Kovalchuk could be the best thing since Wayne Gretzky to put LA back on the radar.
But can the kings realistically make this signing and not lose assets indirectly from this deal? Signing Kovalchuk will (according to NHLnumbers.com) move their cap number up into the $52M to $54M range. The salary cap this year is around $59M. The Kings would be getting close to the cap and yet only have 17 one-way contracts on their roster including Kovalchuk. Soon to be urgent will be the re-signing of Drew Doughty who will be up for an astronomical raise plus Jack Johnson isn't far behind and if they bring up Brayden Schenn this season he has a bonus structure that could fetch him upwards of $3M. Looking at the team they had last year, they are losing about $13M worth of talent this summer (Frolov, Modin etc) which will need to be replaces in some shape or form just to ice a full team come early October.
Suffice to say, LA are heading for some real problems and depending on their ambitions for this season, they may already be in the weeds. If you look at their roster it's pretty plain to see they have some anvil's as far as contracts. If you look at their prospects you'll see they have a fantastic group. The magic combination if you're the GM of a rebuilding team with some cap space. Like Brian Burke.
Would Toronto take on Ryan Smyth's mind boggling $6.25 cap hit for the next three years? Or Scuderi's $3.4M, or Hanzus's $4M for next season? I think Burke would consider it so long as LA put a package together that includes a young talent who Burke and Nonis can't live without.
Dare I dream and say Brayden Schenn playing with his brother is still not completely out of the question?