BOSTON (CBS) — After a successful 2017-18 campaign that brought them to the second round of the playoffs, it’s unclear exactly how the Boston Bruins are going to attack their offseason. But according to a new report, the team may be looking to sign a well-known veteran goal scorer.
TSN’s Darren Dreger said on an interview on Montreal 690 that the Bruins are interested in signing Ilya Kovalchuk this summer.
“I’m going to give you a list of teams that I believe are interested in Ilya Kovalchuk, and I’m going to qualify that level of interest. Detroit, as I tweeted earlier today, definitely made a push. The St. Louis Blues have interest. Anaheim, Dallas, the New York Islanders — I’d put that group as potential dark horse teams. And then beyond that, probably more solid contenders include the likes of San Jose and Los Angeles. And I’d put the Boston Bruins in that group and maybe the New York Rangers as well. So there’s a total of nine teams.”
Kovalchuk has noted that he wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender, which is what Dreger meant when he said the Bruins are among the “more solid contenders” who are vying for Kovalchuk’s services.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun also said the Bruins are one of a handful of teams to really be in position to land Kovalchuk. LeBrun included the Bruins with the Kings, Rangers and Sharks as “top contenders.”
Kovalchuk, 35, has not played in the NHL since the 2013 season, playing the last five seasons in the KHL. In terms of production, Kovalchuk is coming off his best two KHL seasons. Two years ago, he scored 32 goals with 46 assists for 78 points in 60 regular-season games, before tallying 6-3-9 totals in 18 playoff games. Last season, he scored 31 goals with 32 assists for 63 points in 53 regular-season games, before posting 6-4-10 totals in 15 postseason games.
The right-shot forward has played at both left and right wing in his career, during which he’s made three All-Star teams.
When he last played in the NHL, Kovalchuk posted 11-20-31 totals in 37 games played for the New Jersey Devils. That came after a 37-goal, 46-assist regular season in 2011-12, which he followed up with eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 23 playoff games, as his Devils lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings.
Kovalchuk won a gold medal for the Olympic Athletes from Russia in 2018 in PyeongChang.
In 816 career NHL games, Kovalchuk has scored 417 goals and recorded 399 assists, tallying exactly one point per game in his 816-game career.
Kovalchuk is set to become a free agent on July 1. He has reportedly already met with the Kings and will soon meet with the Sharks.