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Could Kovalchuk Just Stay In New Jersey?

The Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes will come to an end on Monday, and that's directly from the source -- his agent, Jay Grossman.

Ilya Kovalchuk looking to make decision on his future today....www.puckagency.comabout 11:30 AM, Jul 5 via TweetDeck


So, where is he going? We learned over the weekend that the Los Angeles Kings, long time considered the front runner for his services, were dropping out of the running. With the choices narrowed down, could Kovalchuk just be staying in New Jersey after all?

According to Mark Everson of the New York Post, that's exactly what's happening.

With Ilya Kovalchuk's agent breaking silence to promise a decision today, it appears the Devils have the inside track on re-signing him to what one source suggests will be a seven-year, $60 million package.

The Islanders have indicated their interest in the 27-year-old superstar, but that same source says they did not make a formal bid of $100 million over 10 years.

The Kings dropped out of the running after Kovalchuk rejected their last offer, and his Russian options have dwindled as well, with one report suggesting four years at $9 million each.

Steve Lepore over at SB Nation New York says, however, that Everson is a "dubious source" to be breaking this news. He's apparently known amongst Devils fans to have a weak reputation as a journalist, so this might be a premature report. If true, though, Kovalchuk will be the fourth-highest paid player in the NHL.

Los Angeles Daily News hockey writer J.P. Hoornstra says that Kovalchuk is ready to sign a three-year, $26 million deal. We'll see what happens, but at the end of the day, expect the official word to come from Grossman, the agent, after all.