Last month, the Los Angeles Kings announced that they were planning to leave veteran forward Ilya Kolvachuk out of their lineup for the foreseeable future, and quickly rumours of a move came into focus.
Kovi signed a three-year $18.75M contract in the summer of 2018 after playing five seasons in the KHL. While he had “retired” from the NHL previously, he made a return once his exclusive rights with the New Jersey Devils expired. If Kovalchuk decided to retire again, the Kings would still carry his full $6.25M cap hit because his contract was signed after his 35th birthday.
However: after December 15th when his next bonus payment is due, more than $13.8M of his contract will have already been paid out in signing bonuses and salary. Which makes him easier to move or let go for the Kings.
According to KHL insider Igor Erenko, Kovalchuk’s contract with the LA Kings will be terminated but Kovalchuk still wants to stay in the NHL despite having a lucrative offer from Omsk Avangard in the KHL.
Kovalchuk’s first season in Los Angeles, albeit a 34-point campaign, was a failure, seeing that he was expected to record 20-plus goals and 50-plus points.
This season with the Kings, Ilya collected nine points in 17 games.