Rangers interest in Kovalchuk on the decline?

ITAR-TASS/ Ruslan Shamukov

Since the Rangers announced the hiring of David Quinn, some experts are weighing in on the likelihood of them signing Ilya Kovalchuk this summer. The latest to do so is Matt Larkin of the Hockey News, who doesn’t see a fit now.

Conflicting Reports?

Kovalchuk to the Rangers was an all but done deal based on reports from Russia in April. Larry Brooks even wrote in early May that the Russian sniper was the Blueshirts most obvious move.

“Kovalchuk is 35, coming off five low-tread seasons in the KHL. He is the kind of veteran difference-maker not likely to become available to the Rangers for years, and exactly the kind of attacking, shoot-first, north-south forward the team lacks. He plays with a strut and with a chip on his shoulder that is absent in pretty much everyone who survived the purge.”  – Brooks

The hiring of Quinn and the rebuild tones struck at his announcement doesn’t mean Kovalchuk has been removed from the plans in my opinion. Ilya’s north-south style and world class shot would be a boon to the Rangers under Quinn, especially on the PP.

In fairness, there have really been no official reports that the Rangers have lost any interest. Matter of fact, it was Jeff Gorton who said he would revisit that conversation when the time was right. “It’s fair to say that’s something we’re going to look at again further and see what’s going on,” the General Manager said about Ilya after the draft lottery.

By those remarks you can still conclude the hiring of Quinn did not change the GM’s mind. The only logical conclusion is that Quinn is aware that Gorton is going to pursue that course of action and is on board. In the new coach’s own words:

“To Rangers fans, I want you to know that I’m going to do the best job that I can to put the best team on the ice. We’re going to give you an honest effort night after night. We’re going to be committed to making every individual better on a daily basis, which in turn will lead to making our team better.”

If that means signing Ilya Kovalchuk allows Quinn to accomplish his stated goal above, than the Rangers will do it…at the right price.


Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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