The question in the title refers to the one and only, Ilya Kovalchuk.
Yes, Kovalchuk is a player who can score between 40 and 50 goals. Yes, Kovalchuk is a player that can excite the crowd with an electrifying move or a quick shot. And yes, Kovalchuk is certainly a player that can make any team better.
However, who does he think he is by asking for a ridiculously long contract whether it was with the New Jersey Devils or Los Angeles Kings? Does Kovalchuk realize that teams have to abide by a salary cap? Do he and NHL general managers realize that in the "new" NHL, it's sometimes not worth it to sacrifice a prospect's potential roster spot? Also, does Kovalchuk know that he has not won anything at the NHL level?
Again, I know that Ilya is a terrific player who can dazzle us game in and game out. However, when looking at the big picture, it's all about winning the Stanley Cup. Kovalchuk has yet to win a playoff round with either the Atlanta Thrashers (qualified for the playoffs once while he was in Atlanta) or even the New Jersey Devils; and in my eyes, that says a lot.
Sure, maybe it was tough to win a series with the Thrashers but there was no excuse to not win one with the Devils. Obviously, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers was not all his fault but he definitely had a part in it.
With all this being said, realistically, what kind of deal should be offered to Kovalchuk? When you answer that question, remember to ask yourself "How much is he worth to my team?"
To sum up, I want to know why Kovalchuk is asking for so much money when in the end, he may not end up being worth it. Who does he think he is?
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.