July 11, 2010 // 6:15pm ET (Last Updated: 7:38pm ET)
Kings, Kovalchuk still talking

There appears to be conflicting reports surfacing late-Sunday afternoon surrounding the future of unrestricted free agent forward Ilya Kovalchuk.

According to Sportsnet's Hockey Central host Daren Millard, the Los Angeles Kings pursuit of the 27-year-old superstar might have finally paid off, as an online report claims the team will announce the signing on Monday.

"Kovy-gate comes 2 an end tomorrow," Millard wrote on his Twitter account. "Kings win the process.. Don't want announcment 2 get overshadowed by WC (World Cup)."

However, TFP Editor David Pagnotta, citing a "well-placed source," deemed the report "inaccurate."

"Latest I have is that Kovalchuk signing is not close, but he is meeting with Kings to discuss options," Pagnotta wrote on his Twitter account.

Shortly after, Kings GM Dean Lombardi told TSN a signing was not imminent.

"Ilya Kovalchuk is coming to Los Angeles for face to face discussions, just like any free agent would," he told TSN. "We are a long way from agreeing on a contract."

In 76 games with the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils this past season, Kovalchuk registered 41 goals and 44 assists for 85 points.

The Kings, Devils, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers have all spoken with Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, who remains mum on the subject.

Kovalchuk is believed to be looking for a long-term deal, seven-to-ten years, worth between $8 million to $10 million per season.

[ From the Editor ]
Well, this is definitely an interesting bit of information. After speaking with a Kings-source, I can definitely tell you no contract is close - and Lombardi's said the same thing, so that alone should be enough. However, the Kings are still very much in the mix. They want him, and I'm told LA is a top choice for Ilya (despite reports suggesting otherwise). The Kings want to show Kovalchuk the beauty's Southern California has to offer (better than any video), meet with him and have ownership get in on it, as well. A contract is not close, but that could change significantly later in the week.
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