[UPDATE: Kovy's agent says he is "looking" to make a decision today...Update2: the Post claims it will be with New Jersey, around 7 years. Update3: If their figure is right, the Devils have to remove a body (or two) to fit under the cap, and Kovy becomes the fourth-highest cap hit in the league. Update4: In accordance with the prophecies, the Post has backed off the strong language from their initial story. Update5: Kovy's agent graced Twitter with the following: Choices narrowed down but no announcement tonight. Yeah, happy U.S. holiday. Update6: Katie Strang says the Isles are out.]
With Kings GM Dean Lombardi claiming to pull out of the Ilya Kovalchuk auction (whether to trade for Simon Gagne or simply as a negotiating ploy, we don't know, but a couple of reports have Ilya firm at demanding $100 million to go West), I turn to the next thought exercise, which is fun even if (as?) Ilya re-signs with New Jersey: What would your offer for Ilya have been?
I made hay with my case against a (much reported, never confirmed) "nuclear option" 10-year, $10 million deal, and that was not to inflate a rumor but rather because I'd been against such an offer ever since the Islanders were (weakly) rumored in trade talks for Ilya as far back as January, when we polled readers for trade proposals. At that time, you'll recall, Ilya had turned down an extension from Atlanta in the ballpark of the offers speculated/demanded in the last week. So I had my reasons for not wanting to trade assets for a guy who was not content with $100 million from a rebuild team (thus, the question: What on earth would he demand to "stay" with the Isles if they rented him?).
So we've debated that "all in" option plenty. (To be clear, it's reported the Isles never went that high, but please remember last week Ilya was said to be shooting for 12 years at $10 million from the Kings, and even now it's said he's demanding $100M from them.) That aside, a fun question, since many on either side of the fence could still fancy Ilya in an Isles uniform for the short term: If you were GM, what would your initial offer be? And where would you cut it off? My best offer is after the jump.
Granted, by all reports Ilya has sought max money and practically lifetime commitment, so you can say it's pointless to offer anything less. That doesn't mean he'll get it (and besides, this is just an exercise). He may be realizing -- as many forecast before this summer began -- that his one-dimensional play just doesn't command quite that level of respect from any NHL GM. So if I were Garth Snow with still plenty to spend and a
marching order desire to get Ilya on John Tavares' left wing, and Ilya's bidders were down to two (plus the KHL), I would appeal to Ilya's inner Hossa:
"Pssst. Ilya. You want the world. No one's giving it to you. They don't like you that way. So take max money from us for a year, maybe two -- $3 million more than anyone else can do -- and show everyone just how huge you can be for a young team with budding stars. If you can do that, next summer (or the summer after) at age 28/29 you'll be $11/22 million richer and teams will be falling over themselves to give you a long-term deal -- and you might even earn and want one from Charles Wang, who is super-loyal to those he believes in. What do ya say?"
I doubt short-term would get it done for him on Long Island -- hell, I doubt any of this will happen period -- but it's where I'd start (and, honestly, end).