With Oskar Lindblom likely out for the rest of the season as he battles a rare bone cancer, the Flyers’ thoughts are with their gifted left winger.
As for the hockey side, which obviously doesn’t seem as important these days, the Flyers will miss Lindblom’s outstanding all-around play. Lindblom and Sean Couturier have been the Flyers’ best two-way players this season.
There is an intriguing free agent out there who wouldn’t cost much who might — might — pick up some of the offense the injury-riddled Flyers will miss with Lindblom out of the lineup.
Hello, Ilya Kovalchuk.
The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Kovalchuk is not known for his defense, but could give the Flyers’ offense a jolt, especially on their struggling power play.
Should the cap-strapped Flyers pursue him?
Kovalchuk, 36, cleared unconditional waivers Tuesday, and his contract with the Kings was terminated. He is an unrestricted free agent and says he will play for the minimum ($700,000) but wants to go to a contender.
Does he have anything left in the tank?
If used the right way, it appears he does, though obviously he is not close to the player who once dominated the NHL while with the Atlanta Thrashers (remember them?) and New Jersey Devils.
Kovalchuk collected 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games last season for Los Angeles, and had three goals, nine points and a minus-10 rating in 17 games for the going-nowhere Kings this season.
In 81 games with the Kings over the last two seasons, Kovalchuk scored 19 goals, recorded 24 assists, and had a minus-36 rating.
He probably could play 10 to 12 minutes a night, including the power play.
In 897 career NHL games, Kovalchuk has 436 goals and 423 assists, and has had six 40-plus goal seasons.
Kovalchuk returned to the NHL last season, signing a three-year deal with Los Angeles after spending the previous five seasons in Russia’s KHL. The fact he wouldn’t cost much could make him a low-risk, high-reward addition.
On the flip side, he could disrupt a close locker room and might take minutes away from a young player.