Ilya Kovalchuk, the free agent left winger who finished sixth in the National Hockey League in goals scored last season for the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils, is reportedly no longer in the running to join the Los Angeles Kings. Per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times:
General Manager Dean Lombardi ended his initial pursuit of the two-time 50-goal scorer Sunday but was "re-engaged" by Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman. After crunching the numbers of a proposal sent Wednesday by Grossman, the Kings calculated they couldn't sign Kovalchuk and have salary cap space to retain the young players who are becoming the franchise's cornerstones.
"We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players," Tim Leiweke, the Kings' governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, said Wednesday night. "Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can't let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap."