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Ilya Kovalchuk Leaves Kings, On Waivers

Ilya Kovalchuk has left the Los Angeles Kings organization, foregoing the final amount owing on his NHL contract. He’s been placed on waivers for termination.

The saga between the Los Angeles Kings and forward Ilya Kovalchuk just got a bit more interesting on Monday.

According to a statement by the Los Angeles Kings organization, “Ilya Kovalchuk has left the team and been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract with the club.”

Speculation was that the Kings would pay Kovalchuk his bonus this past weekend and then look to terminate his contract. What people didn’t expect was the the process would be initiated by Kovalchuk himself.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported updates on the Kovalchuk situation and he writes that Kovalchuk was expected to leave the Kings as early as today and not wait for his contract termination. He later updated his posts to say the Kings have placed Kovalchuk on waivers for the purpose of terminating his deal.

Kovalchuk leaving puts him in breach of contract, which would bring on a suspension and an official parting of the ways this week. The end result will be the same, in that he’ll wind up a UFA and the Kings will be stuck with his $6.25 million cap hit this season and next, but they wouldn’t owe him any real cash.

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet added, “By leaving the team and terminating his contract now, he gives up roughly $400,000 in salary this season and $4.25M next.”

Where Will Kovalchuk End Up?

Reports are that he wants to stay in the NHL even though the KHL is already offering some good money to return to Russia. Where will Kovalchuk end up?

Clearly, he’ll be able to make back the money he sacrificed by walking away from the Kings, but it’s hard to imagine anyone will pay him much to join them for the remainder of the season.

Related: Edmonton Oilers Close to Extension With Zack Kassian

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