FanPost

Kovalchuk on the Pens - what couldn't have been

Note: this exercise is completely ludicrous, because there was a 0% chance of it happening in reality.  But what if...

Although he signed a $100 million contract, Kovalchuk's cap hit is only $6 million per season.  That's only $1 million more per season than our new friend, recently signed Paul Martin.  What if, instead of shelling out $5 million for Martin, Shero had inked Kovalchuk at $6 million per season?  Suddenly, we are not looking for a top line winger, or any forward.  We can roll out:

The Koon-Crosby-Dupuis

Kovalchuk-Malkin-Staal

Cooke-Letestu-Kennedy

Adams-Talbot-Rupp.

(Feel free to drop Staal down to 3C, Letestu/WBS player down to 4C, and Talbot up to Malkin's wing)

Of course, then you have a hole on D, 1 million less to play with, and you need another D to replace Martin.  Does it work?

For D:

Orpik-Letang

Z-Gogo

Lovejoy-?

You have to consider that the Pens still have to fill a hole at forward, and that's going to cost money.  Perhaps it's someone cheap fromWBS around 500K, perhaps it's an outside signee who fetches closer to $1 million.  This is money they wouldn't have to pay if they, in my imaginary world, had signed Kovalchuk.  The real question becomes, which would you prefer?  Martin + WBS player/new third line center or Kovalchuk + cheap D/Engelland.  The Kovalchuk option is more expensive by about $1 million, which would only give the Pens $1 million on the year for call-ups/deadline deals.

The Kovalchuk option is sexier, for sure, and it emphatically fills the Pens' top four winger hole.  But that D suddenly looks pretty weak, with Gogo in a top 4 role and someone even less experienced/less effective than Lovejoy paired with him.  The Kovalchuk option is also much riskier - even though his contract comes off the books if he retires, what if his play declines precipitously in his thirties?  Suddenly you've got a cap hit of $6 million for someone who's not contributing AND not much money for defense.

Still, Martin at $5 million vs Kovalchuk at $6?  Very tempting to take Kovalchuk with only one million dollars difference.

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at Pensburgh.com. FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

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