Oh, I love how rumour season is kicking into gear... I do keep a close eye on HockeyBuzz, because it's a lot of fun to play with the rumours. Sunday afternoon sees an interesting paradigm shift in the Pacific Division with the suggestion of the Los Angeles Kings going after Patrick Marleau on July 1st, opening up the door for the Sharks to go after Ilya Kovalchuk.
Looking at what the Kings already have in place, Marleau looks like he'd be a pretty good fit down the middle for the Kings, but do they really want to drop a ton of cap space on one player on a young team. The Kings already have a good captain in Dustin Brown, but you would have to think Marleau would get an "A" if he steps on the ice for Los Angeles. Depth at centre is somewhat questionable, so having a centre like Marleau to play with a guy like Ryan Smyth does seem rather tempting, so I think the rumour does have some merit.
Last week, I did toy with the idea of what Marleau might be worth on the open market and my best guess would suggest that $6.5 million will be the eventual cap hit for him and since the Kings have $43.4 million already taken up for 15 players, they'd be riding $50 million if they added Marleau. That's getting pretty tight.
Now, the Sharks targeting Ilya Kovalchuk is super interesting, wouldn't you say? How far would the desired salary cap hit slide to play in San Jose? That would be my first question when thinking about this potential signing. I'm thinking that if Kovalchuk did decide to go to San Jose in July, he would have to think that moving to the West would give him the best chance to win a Cup, so I'm thinking the desired cap hit may drop down to $7 million per season, which would be well suited to the Sharks, who only have a current cap hit of $34.6 million for 10 players, including Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle. That would be a boatload of offense and then depth and goaltending would have to be sorted out with the remaining cap space, which might not be a hard task, because they should be able to attract some top talent to play for less with the four players signed (hypothetically).
The Sharks are definitely in a position to go shopping with Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov hitting the open market, relieving a lot of cap space, and they will have to win something big soon or else the management may be finding itself in some real hot water.