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Photo Credit: GREGORY SMITH / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Could Kovalchuk Be An Option?

Congratulations! By clicking on the headline or link directing you to this article, you’re at least:

A – Open minded enough to not completely laugh this crazy notion off.

or

B – Ready to laugh this crazy notion off, but wanted to see just how crazy it was so you can’t be accused “not clicking the link” or “not reading the article”

Atlanta Thrashers (and fine if you insist, also New Jersey Devils) legend Ilya Kovalchuk wants back in to the NHL.

In a talk he had with Russian Sports Network Match TV, he stated that he would entertain offers to make an NHL return “for several years” and that his return is motivated by a possible Stanley Cup victory and membership into the famed “Triple Gold Club” which fellow countryman Pavel Datsyuk recently joined with Russia’s (I refuse to call them O.A.R.) gold medal win in the recent Olympics.

The “Triple Gold Club” is made up of players who have won gold medals in both the IIHF World Championships and Olympics as well as been a member of a Stanley Cup winning club in the NHL. There are 28 names on the list, seven of them Russian.

If Kovalchuk truly is interested in capturing a Stanley Cup as his main goal then he needs to look at teams that will remain legitimate contenders over the next two or three seasons, and my friends the Winnipeg Jets qualify as one of those contenders.

Understanding that the idea of Kovalchuk joining the Jets – the same franchise he started his NHL career with and still holds many team records under – is very unlikely, wouldn’t it be worth it to both him and the Jets to at least entertain the idea? If he truly was about winning a Stanley Cup that is.

The Winnipeg Jets for the last three seasons have been known by many hockey experts and fans alike as a club slowly building towards Cup contender-ship and this season we’ve started to see those plans starting to come to fruition. A good part of the core of this team is around the age of 25 or younger, many of those players are either in long term contracts or under team control over the next five seasons.

How many other teams in the NHL can boast that kind of potential? You can maybe count them on one hand.

But the leap from “ya know it would be cool/funny if…” to “this should totally happen and both sides seem interested in it…” is about a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Salary cap considerations and what Kovalchuk would want for a salary… Actual need by the Jets for a top six forward… There is of course the question if Kovalchuk would like to spend his winters in Winnipeg…

It all seems like a very unlikely fit or at best something that just wouldn’t pan out even if one side or both had interest, but then we’re in a strange era where suddenly the Winnipeg Jets and “Stanley Cup contenders” can be mentioned in the same breath and not be a completely laughable thought. If Paul Stastny can waive his no trade clause to come to Winnipeg, then…

Well, doesn’t it feel like anything at this point could be possible?

What do you think? Should the Jets reach out to the man who still holds the franchise record for points? Should Kovalchuk take a serious look at Winnipeg as a place where he could maybe win a Stanley Cup (or even two?) What do you think would it take to make this happen? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter feed.

That is, unless you already gave us a resounding “no” before clicking the link…