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Golden Knights among teams that met with Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent Friday

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Ilya Kovalchuk’s camp continues to keep teams waiting.

Olympics: Ice Hockey-Men’s Team Gold medal match - GER-OAR David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

After the Golden Knights seemingly came out of nowhere to join the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes this week, the team now finds itself as one of the final four contenders for the 35-year-old Russian forward.

The next step for these teams, which includes the Knights, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins, is to meet with Kovalchuk’s camp. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, that is exactly what happened on Friday when each of the four contenders met with Kovalchuk’s agent, J.P. Barry.

At this point in time, there are not many details about how these meetings went. However, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Kovalchuk does not have a timeline for when he will make a decision.

With $30.975 million of cap space available, as per CapFriendly.com, money is not an issue for the Golden Knights like it is for the Bruins or Kings. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Knights should break the bank on a 35-year-old forward, but it does mean that Vegas can make Kovalchuk a good offer.

As for what the Knights would potentially offer him, there has been a lot of speculation. According to John Hoven, the Golden Knights have pitched Kovalchuk a two-year deal at $5 million per season with the promise of playing on the team’s top power play unit.

Would that be enough to sign Kovalchuk? Maybe. But according to NBC Sports Boston’s DJ Bean, Kovalchuk compares himself to Patrick Marleau, who faced a similar situation as a veteran free agent last summer before signing with Toronto. Kovalchuk would either like a deal similar to Marleau’s three-year, $18.75 million contract ($6.25 million average annual value) or a shorter two-year deal with a higher cap hit.

Again, cap space is not an issue for the Golden Knights, but it would be surprising to see them offer Kovalchuk a deal similar to what the Leafs gave Marleau. Yes, Kovalchuk could help Vegas, particularly on the power play, but a three-year deal for a 35-year-old player who has been out of the NHL for five seasons just doesn’t seem like something George McPhee would do.

But considering the way McPhee and the Knights suddenly joined the Kovalchuk sweepstakes out of nowhere, it probably won’t be all that surprising if they do, in fact, sign Kovy to a three-year deal. However, McPhee denies having any discussions with Kovalchuk’s agent, so it’s difficult to know exactly what is going for the time being.

Either way, stay tuned. The Kovalchuk sweepstakes might be down to four teams, but when he will actually make a decision is anyone’s guess.