NHL Rumor Tuesday: Did Malkin have to be talked out of staying in the KHL?

NHL RUMOR TUESDAY

WILL DEVILS VOID KOVALCHUK’S CONTRACT IF HE STAYS IN KHL?
Talk of Ilya Kovalchuk being the New Jersey Devils next captain needs to be put on hold. Kovalchuk is creating quite a stir as he’s still playing for SKA and hasn’t fully committed to coming back to the NHL this season.
However, the Devils and Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman are confident that Kovalchuk will show up by the weekend but comments like this have many wondering.
“I will need to read the new agreement,” Kovalchuk told Russian journalist Slava Malamud of Sport-Express about whether he plans to return to the Devils.
Kovalchuk has 13 years left on a 15 year, $100 million contract. With there being an agreement between the NHL and KHL that all contracts must be honored following the lockout, the Devils could have the opportunity to void Kovalchuk’s deal, if he fails to come back to the NHL this season. That might not be a bad thing but not having Kovalchuk for this season would be a severe blow to the Devils depleted lineup that lost Zach Parise to free agency.
Expect Kovalchuk to return.
WAS MALKIN PLANNING TO STAY IN KHL REGARDLESS OF NEW DEAL?

Interesting stuff from Larry Brooks today who reports as of last Friday, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk were preparing a press release to announce they intended to remain in KHL regardless of the NHL returning. Brooks says the quartet had been promised immense amount of money (guarantee fromn Putin) to stay in KHL and not return to NHL.
Some of the players were talked out of sending a press release by the NHLPA and to this point Alexander Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk have returned.
Malkin’s agent JP Barry in a quick text message, denies Malkin was a part of that group preparing to stay. I’m nut buying he planned to stay but Malkin is not yet headed back to Pittsburgh.
WILL HOLMGREN BE TEMPTED TO GO AFTER LUONGO?
With Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, you never rule anything out, which has some small chatter in hockey circles going around about Holmgren going after Roberto Luongo at the right price and using the compliance buyout on Ilya Bryzgalov. Highly unlikely but some believe Holmgren is tempted despite the ramifications of Luongo’s so called cheat deal that could occur if he retires before his deal is up.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, though, remain the most likely landing spot for Luongo.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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