The NBA has the LeBron-Wade-Bosh sweepstakes. Where if any team signs any of the three named players will hit the lottery and will have a franchise player for years to come. Over at the Coolest Game Played on Ice, we have the Kovy sweepstakes. The biggest free agent in the NHL this summer is New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk. Just like his roundball counterparts, Kovy wants to be able to win the Stanley Cup while getting paid the big bucks. Today was a standstill in the race to sign Kovalchuk, but in past days it has been known that the New York Islanders are joining the discussions for his services. Islanders GM Garth Snow is only reporting that “I’ve had a conversation with his agent and I’ll leave it at that” when he spoke with Newsday beat writer Katie Strang. The main contenders for his services appear to be along with the Islanders is New Jersey and Los Angeles. All three teams have potential to make themselves better with Kovy on their roster. LA and NJ are the more “championship” ready teams while the Islanders could be in a couple years with the potential of a Tavares-Kovalchuk duo.
In other news, no big names found new homes today. There was some key re-signings since Matt’s update yesterday. Colorado kept defenseman Daniel Winnik and forward Kyle Quincy. Both young guns were RFA’s entering this off season, and both signed two-year contracts. Anaheim potentially got one of the “steals” of the early signing period as they got Islanders minor league prospect Trevor Smith. Smith spent last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders’ AHL affiliate. Smith, a center, appeared in 77 games, scored 21 goals and recorded 26 assists for 47 points. He was in the top-three in all three statistical categories for his team last season.
The Dallas Stars also quietly added two key depth players in Andrew Raycroft and Adam Burish. As the Stars are moving past Marty Turco, they signed Raycroft from Vancouver to compete with minor league backstop Brent Krahn to backup Kari Lehtonen. Raycroft has the leg up on Krahn, as he has been in the league for 10 years and also has seen time as a starter in recent years with Toronto, Boston. Raycroft also won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 2003-04.