What Would You Do To Land the Most Prized UFA?

The #1 UFA approaching the market is none other than Ilya Kovalchuk.

While most people think that Kovalchuk will sign in the KHL (because who wouldn’t want to be paid an exorbitant amount of money for a short amount of time), whoever said that Kovalchuk was all about money?

There are elements that people leave out in how Kovalchuk will make his decision. The #1 factor…Kovalchuk is a family man. He wants to go to a FAMILY ORIENTED TEAM.

There are things that Kovalchuk changed about the way he played and the way he was a team member, just to fit into the dynamics of the New Jersey Devils for a few months. What makes you think he wasn’t INTERVIEWING the Devils for the job as his new workplace?

Kovalchuk can go to just about any team in the world right now. But where he ends up going has everything to do with where he wants to relocate his family. Kovalchuk is a family man, so his decisions will be purely based on what team and location will benefit his family the most.

Will LA benefit him and his family? Not unless he wants to be surrounded by superficial people all of the time. Why would he want to raise his family in that kind of life?

Will the Devils benefit him and his family? Let’s see…they are a family team. Most of the kids are around the same age as his kids. He can either live in the ‘burbs or move into NYC. Depends on the kind of life they want to live.

Granted, if he moved to my neighborhood, not only are there fabulous restaurants all around, but they also have an amazing community and school district. Kids will have plenty of after school activities all in one block. Hockey for the kids? I believe Marty’s kids play in the next town over (5-10 minute drive).

Plenty of malls. Access to 3 major airports. Wife can go shopping like Mrs. Kovalchuk should on 5th Avenue.

Lots of museums, culture, libraries (yes, Devils…you can laugh), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…all within a moment’s drive. Not to mention they can use public transportation to get around to most major destinations.

If they want to head someplace warm…well, it’s not that long of a plane ride to head to Miami or the Caribbean…not to mention it’s closer to Europe/Russia. In the summer months, if they stick around, they can head on up to Cape Cod or the Hamptons.

Did I mention that there’s an amazing Russian community in NYC? Depesha magazine is a Russian fashion magazine based in NYC. Not to mention the Russian Children Welfare Society is based in Manhattan.

Let’s not forget all of the Russian restaurants…(I’m craving dumplings right now like you wouldn’t believe). There are Russian communities in NYC where they can pick up their favorite Russian ingredients.

Wait…am I selling the NYC ideal to Kovalchuk or to the fans?

Kovalchuk knows where he’s going. That’s all I’m going to say.

As for the rest of the world…just what would they do to land the most prized UFA?

We’ve already seen that the KHL has offered crazy money to him. But in the long run, what do they offer to Kovalchuk as far as what it takes to win?

Or did they just offer money and nothing else?

Kovalchuk has said time and time again…he’ll take a paycut just to remain with a winning team. So apparently winning is everything, not money.

There are rumblings in the House of Devils that some major changes are happening. Major…like this will knock your socks off…rumblings. It took me several days to wrap my head around what was being said in the Devils Den. But it made me ask…what exactly would the Devils do in order to add Kovalchuk to their roster?

I’m not looking at the salary cap like everyone else is doing. I’m looking at the game plan. What exactly would it take to create the new Kovalchuk dynasty?

The Brodeur dynasty is coming to its end. Soon Brodeur will retire. He’s been talking about it for a couple of years now. Only Marty knows when he’s ready. Either way, Marty is a Devil for life and he’s preparing himself for the day he heads upstairs. Listening to Marty, you could see that if he had a say in the Devils future after the Brodeur era ends, Kovalchuk would be a part of that future.

Most of the Devils are family men. Very few are single. Most of them have children. Many of the dads are close to Kovalchuk’s age, and their kids are all around the same ages. The wives/girlfriends are also close to Kovalchuk’s wife’s age. These are all important factors in the dynamics of bringing Kovalchuk to the Devils.

Unlike the Rangers, who have always been willing to pay top price for the biggest names, the Devils are more of a family team than a bachelor team like the Rangers.

The Rangers and Islanders have no chance of ever scoring Kovalchuk just based on the family aspect of the team. They are not what Kovalchuk is looking for.

A cup win? A chance at getting into the playoffs every single season? The Devils can provide that. Their history has shown they are a winning team. And Kovalchuk loves their “win” mantra. Losing is a HUGE deal for the Devils. You have to WIN. Kovalchuk loved the idea since he was introduced to it in the Devils locker room.

He said that in Atlanta, no one cared if they lost. He was amazed and loved the idea that a loss was such a huge deal for the Devils. Winning means everything to the club…and he was sold on the game plan.

In order to be accepted by the Devils, Kovalchuk changed many aspects of how he did things. The Devils way focused on certain professional elements. He abided by every rule just to be accepted as a Devil.

Who goes through that just to be a rental for a couple of months? No one.

So it’s obvious that Kovalchuk wants to remain with the Devils.

But, what are the Devils willing to offer?

Since the end of the season rebellion happened, the Devils are faced with making major changes. They were forced into this position by their own team.

They’ve been riding with the current roster for a few too many playoff round one exits. Since the players have decided they were the ones in control…and they have yet to get past round one…who’s to say they’re all staying?

A trade here, a trade there…a non re-signing there…a signing here…that’s what I hear that you can expect in the upcoming months.

Ever since I was told what was happening, I’ve been watching certain trades, movements, and rumors amongst three teams. What am I watching in all of this…what the Devils are doing just to build a team around Ilya Kovalchuk.

You don’t bring Kovalchuk in to be a second or third liner. He’s the guy you build your team around. The Devils know that. They’re taking the key (Kovalchuk) to the future (Parise) and unlocking it.

The changes happening in order to make this happen…it’s going to shock all of you.

I’d be paying attention to MAJOR TRADE rumors right now. There’s something big behind it…all in an attempt to build a team around Ilya Kovalchuk. No NHL team would dream of taking on Kovalchuk unless they were willing to bring him on and build the team around him.

From what I hear…the Devils are working on just that.

Another big name on the rise is Tomas Kaberle. With Paul Martin and several others awaiting the naming of a new coach before signing, a move should be made for Kaberle while the others await the announcement of a new coach. The “D” has been lacking for some time. Skoula will likely not be returning. He did nothing for the Devils.

While there are players like Brendan Shanahan that waited for the naming of a new coach before signing with the Devils again last summer, Shanny knew he would be able to re-sign with them. Martin…I’m not so sure he has that stability card on the table. He may be one of the better defenseman on the team…BUT the rebellion did happen last season.

A change in the house of Devils needs to happen…especially if they want to get out of that first round playoff exit rut. After all, the major money for the Devils is in the playoff run. After their lackluster season in ticket sales pre-Kovalchuk, they need to start making money. Building a franchise around a new Dynasty needs to begin now.

[NOTE: I was assured that Kovalchuk was true to his word. So if he said it…guess what? HE MEANS IT. No lies coming from Kovalchuk. He is true to his word. So if he said it folks…pay attention to what he said.]

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