Larry Brooks thinks we should make a run at Kovalchuk
[B]Impeccable sources have told The Post that the Devils have a contract offer on the table to Kovalchuk for 17 years at more than $100 million, and front-loaded so that Kovalchuk would collect $100 million over the first 10 years of the deal. Yet the winger, who recorded 27 points (10-27) as a Devils' rental while enjoying his experience in New Jersey, hasn't accepted it.
Nevertheless, the Rangers as currently constructed do not have nearly enough top-end talent to contend for anything meaningful in a league that increasingly is dominated by its elite players.
Plus, they are not going to bottom out for years the way the reigning Cup champion Blackhawks and the 2009 champion Penguins did in order to add people like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
Plus, elite players don't get to unrestricted free agency in hockey -- they get "lifetime" deals coming out of their Entry Level contracts so that they never reach the market.
Except there's Kovalchuk on the market, a singular threat every time he's on the ice. Except there's this marquee goal-scoring machine-41 last year, 230 over the last six years including two seasons of 52-longing for the bright lights who's there for the taking.
The big-market, big-revenue teams that drive the NHL have two advantages in the hard-cap CBA that has two years to run. They can afford to erase mistakes by sending big-money contracts to the minors and they can afford heavily front-loaded "lifetime" deals that guarantee huge cash to the athlete yet keeps the cap hit manageable.
These teams have two summers in which to flaunt their economic power. The Rangers have this September to demote Wade Redden and they have this summer to get Kovalchuk. No one of similar value will be on the market next year.
Sather has serious issues with the summer cap that will demand creativity in order to solve. The general manager might have to surrender a No. 3 in order to get Donald Brashear's over-35 charge of $1.4 million off the cap, but if that's what it takes to clear the space to land Kovalchuk, so be it.
Kovalchuk is likely to make his decision within the next 48-to-72 hours. The window is open for the Rangers to sign a talent the likes of which they won't otherwise have the opportunity to add for years.