Washington Capitals: Ilya Kovalchuk could be on the move in free agency

Ilya Kovalchuk will likely be moving on from the Washington Capitals.

Come free agency Ilya Kovalchuk could be on the move after he was just a rental for the Washington Capitals. The Caps acquired him at the trade deadline from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2020 third round pick.

Prior to his arrival in D.C., Kovalchuk recorded 13 points with six goals and seven assists in 22 games with the Canadiens and nine points with three goals and six assists with the Los Angeles Kings.

Kovalchuk provided the Caps with another veteran presence in the locker room and it’s likely his next team will be looking for that kind of leadership. With a chance to win a Stanley Cup before he retires, a potential suitor will be in win now mode.

The Caps were Kovalchuk’s third team this season. He has played 13 seasons in the NHL but the Caps makihe playoffs was Kovalchuk’s first playoff action since 2012 when he led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final.

It is likely that even though the Canadiens traded him, the veteran could be heading back to Montreal next season. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported that it was “all but assured” he would sign with the Canadiens during the offseason.

Per Tom Gulitti, Kovalchuk was hoping for an Eastern Conference Finals between the Caps and Habs. The Canadiens upset the Pittsburgh Penguins before their season ended last night against the Philadelphia Flyers. It sounded like he enjoyed his time with the Montreal Canadiens and it is likely he will sign with the Habs this offseason.

Kovalchuk had a goal and three assists in seven regular season games before the season was suspended due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. In eight playoff games with the Caps, Kovalchuk had one assist.

The Caps offseason will be filled with a ton of questions and one of those questions involves whether or not Ilya Kovalchuk will be back. With the tight salary cap situation and other needs heading into the offseason, it is likely the Caps will have to move on.