Shero said that signing both Gonchar and Hamhuis was one of about 20 scenarios he was working on. And it is possible, cap-wise, to sign both but it means that Engelland and a WBS forward are on the Pens roster (in addition to Lovejoy and Tangradi). So Shero has 4 scenarios in front of him today: sign Gonch, sign Hamhuis, sign both, sign neither. And the decision tree goes out from there for each one. It occurred to me that there is a secondary scenario that absolutely no one thought was possible--signing Kovalchuck -- which could be considered if Shero can't sign either Gonch or Hamhuis.
There are only a few teams that can afford and want Kovy, with the LA Kings appearing to be the most likely destination, He's only 27, 6"2", 230#, and has had between 37 and 52 goals for 7 straight seasons, which certainly offsets the fact that he's not a great defensive player. And he's a great power play quarterback, so that role -- the primary reason to bring back Gonch -- is covered.
Kovalchuk reportedly has been or may be offered a $36M/3 year contract by the KHL, but said he wants to play in the NHL and win a Cup. And he must be serious about that since he turned down a $101M, 12 year contract from the Atlanta Thrashers last year, the 2nd biggest contract ever offered in the NHL, which resulted in him being moved at the trade deadline to the Devils.
He obviously has a great chance to win a Cup with the Pens, and let's assume he would LOVE playing with his Olympic team mate Geno. It's been predicted that Kovalchuk will get $7-8M, so let's assume that he'd take $7M from the Pens to play on Geno's left wing.
Capgeek shows the Pens having $11.2M in space with Tangradi and Lovejoy on the roster. Keep a $1.2M reserve for WBS call-ups and trade deadline deals, so $10M is available. Kovalchuk at $7M leaves $3M for 2 Dmen (to 6) and 1 RW. That's Leopold at $2M, Engelland at $500K, and Nick Johnson, Chris Connor, or Billy Guerin at $500K (if he'd sign for that). Can add a 7th Dman for $750K by assigning Godard to WBS, or trust (hope) that Strait, Bortuzzo, or Despres can fill in when needed.
What do you think about this possibility (or more likely fantasy)?