Ilya Kovalchuk’s late-career return to the NHL has been a tumultuous one, and now it appears that his time with the LA Kings, at least, is nearing an end.
The 36-year-old and the organization are in the process of finalizing Kovalchuk’s release, the Hockey News reported Wednesday afternoon. Subsequent reports have the two sides currently working out their options, with the situation remaining fluid.
The general consensus, however, is that the two sides are all-but officially done with each other.
Kovalchuk, who was a healthy scratch for the Kings in Tuesday night’s win over the Wild, didn’t speak to the media on Wednesday, but head coach Todd McLellan addressed the situation.
Kovalchuk didn't speak today, but Todd McLellan was asked about the situation:— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) November 13, 2019
“The group did a good job of focusing on the task at hand [last night]. I thought Kovy handled himself well and everybody was prepared to play and move forward...
TSN’s Darren Dreger highlighted the financial complexities while noting some of the salary cap implications involved in the release process if the Kings do, in fact, go that route.
For those who have suggested a release. Kovalchuk would have to either breach or walk away from his contract in order for LA to terminate the agreement. Can’t see it happening. Kings would still take the cap charge as he’s over 35. https://t.co/ARYGmkRzJ9— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 13, 2019
Since returning to the NHL after a five-year KHL hiatus, Kovalchuk has posted 19 goals and 24 helpers in 81 contests with the Kings.
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports