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Dreger lists teams interested in Kovalchuk

Chris Nichols

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Feb 24, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; Olympic Athlete from Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk (71) celebrates beating Germany in the men's ice hockey gold medal match during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Ilya Kovalchuk is already free to negotiate with teams interested in his services, and we may now have a better idea which general managers are pursuing the free agent sniper.

Darren Dreger had mentioned Monday that there may be double-digit teams involved, and Tuesday the NHL Insider provided more details.

“I’m going to give you a list of teams that I believe are interested in Ilya Kovalchuk,” noted Dreger during a Tuesday morning radio hit on Monteal’s TSN 690. “And I’m going to qualify that level of interest. Detroit, as I tweeted earlier today, definitely made a push. The St. Louis Blues have interest, Anaheim, Dallas, the New York Islanders. I’d put that group as potential dark horse teams.

“And then beyond that, probably more solid contenders include the likes of San Jose and Los Angeles, and I’d put the Boston Bruins in that group and maybe the New York Rangers as well. So there’s a total of nine teams.

“And I did not mention Toronto or Montreal and that’s just simply because either the team hasn’t engaged or the player doesn’t see those teams as the right fit.”

Kovalchuk, 35, can’t actually sign his contract until July 1 with the rest of the free agent class.

NHL Insiders. 17-year digital media hockey career includes a combined decade online with Sportsnet and ESPN.

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