The Boston Bruins’ pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk has come to an end.
The Russian Winger agreed to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, the team announced. Kovalchuk played the last five seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League after leaving the NHL following the 2012-13 season.
Here’s the announcement from the Kings:
Kovalchuk reportedly was seeking a deal akin to the one 38-year-old Patrick Marleau received from the Toronto Maple Leafs last offseason.
And, well, that’s what the 35-year-old got, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
NHL’s free agency period doesn’t begin until July 1, so Kovalchuk can’t officially sign a deal yet.
But aside from reportedly ironing out a few details, the deal is done.
So, why were the Bruins unable to land a player they so clearly coveted?
Here’s an explanation from The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun:
With Kovalchuk now out of the picture, Boston must look elsewhere to fill the right wing spot on the second line.
The Bruins could re-sign Rick Nash, who they acquired last season via trade from the New York Rangers, or they could hand the keys to a youngster, such as Ryan Donato. Either way, it should be fascinating to see what general manager Don Sweeney elects to do as the offseason marches on.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images