I get it, the business is to put asses in the seats. But the New York Rangers are setting up to sign a high profile 34 year old Russian, flakey, winger during their first offseason after openly admitting that they are rebuilding. With Ilya Kovalchuk tearing up the amateur level KHL, Glen Sather has clearly seen enough and wants the aging, one-way, non-committal winger on his team. In an all time dumb move, the Rangers are embarking on the most “Rangers” move of all time.
Sports-Express writer, Igor Eronko, who looks like a possible Putin cabinet member, reported it first, stating Kovalchuk is close to signing with the New York Rangers:
Per source Ilya Kovalchuk is set to sign at 2-3 year deal with #NYR
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 9, 2018
And, oh yes you read that correctly. A 2-3 year deal is what the Russian is signing up for. Coming off of a 15 year deal in which he only played for 3 years of for New Jersey, it is nice to see Kovalchuk humbly taking anything less than a 20 year contract with a fully guaranteed, retirement protected salary.
In a post I literally cannot quote enough, Glen Sather and Jeff Orton (the president and GM of the Rangers) openly admitted to tanking their season away in order to re-build their team in an open letter to their fans. They promise in this letter to ensure that they are “building the foundation for our next Stanley Cup contender.”
Step 1: Sign a 34-year old Russian forward – nearly complete.
The Rangers traded away their captain and best player Ryan McDonagh, and depth scoring forward J.T. Miller for prospects from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not a huge haul, but enough to convince the hockey world that they were serious about the rebuild. They also moved out Rick Nash to Boston, another conference rival, for some roster players, a prospect and some picks, again signalling the rebuild was under way.
Now, they are apparently ready to contend again, as the Kovalchuk signing literally only makes sense for a team that is solid defensively (not the Rangers), has solid centre depth (not the Rangers), and just needs a proven goal scorer to get them over the hump and into the playoffs (not the Rangers).
Not used to losing in recent years, it’ll be great to see him take off back to Russia when the Rangers are 1-12-4 by December next season.
If I were a Rangers fan I would be livid, but since I am not I am more than happy to just laugh hysterically if this dumb signing actually happens. Keep Rangering on Rangers, the NHL wouldn’t be the same without you!