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Canadiens Considered a Canuck Before Signing Kovalchuk

Did the Montreal Canadiens look at a different forward before they signed Ilya Kovalchuk? Elliotte Friedman dropped an interesting name.

During Saturday’s Headlines on Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman dropped an interesting bit of information regarding the process that was the Montreal Canadiens signing Ilya Kovalchuk.. Apparently, he wasn’t their first choice.

While the deal now looks to be a favorable one for the Canadiens, prior to landing Kovalchuk on a one-year, two-way deal, the Canadiens looked to the Vancouver Canucks and had their eyes on Sven Baertschi.

The deal never came to pass and likely because of the salary differences between what Kovalchuk signed for and what it would have cost the Canadiens to have Baertschi on their roster, but it’s an interesting change in direction, nonetheless.

The Differences in the Two Deals

Kovalchuk signed for one year at $700K while Baertschi has one more season after this on his deal at $3.36 million per season. Sure, the Canucks likely would have retained some salary, but even if they’d taken 50% of it, the Canadiens still would have been paying twice as much as they’re about to pay one of the better scorers in recent NHL history.

And, should Kovalchuk not produce, the Canadiens aren’t tied to him beyond this season. Landing Baertschi would have committed Montreal to him both this season and next.

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