New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero is on the verge of landing yet another asset in his team's rebuilding plan: Ilya Kovalchuk.
Shero confirmed on Tuesday that Kovalchuk would like to return to the NHL next season, four years after the former No. 1 draft pick bolted to play in his native Russia. With the Devils still owning Kovalchuk's rights, Shero said he's keeping all options open after having preliminary discussions with the player's agent.
Under NHL rules, Kovalchuk must re-sign with the Devils and can't do so until the league's free-agency period opens on July 1. That doesn't preclude the possibility of the Devils signing and then trading the player.
And there are no rules preventing the Devils or Kovalchuk from contacting other teams and negotiating the framework of a potential sign-and-trade deal.
Whatever happens, Kovalchuk's pending return to North America marks yet another boost for a Devils team that missed the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year and finished last in the Eastern Conference standings. Last month, New Jersey bucked the odds by winning the NHL draft lottery and jumping four spots for the right to the No. 1 pick (see full story).
Star: Bishop's negotiating rights acquired from Kings
LOS ANGELES -- The Dallas Stars have acquired the rights to goalie Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.
The clubs made the deal Tuesday involving Bishop, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer unless Dallas signs him before July 1.
Bishop played just seven games after the Kings acquired him as a backup for Jonathan Quick. Los Angeles failed to make the playoffs.
The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist spent parts of the past five seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He also has played for Ottawa and St. Louis.
Bishop spent the 2004-05 season with the NAHL's Texas Tornado, playing in the same rink that holds the Stars' training complex in suburban Frisco (see full story).
Devils: Defenseman Viktor Loov signs 1-year, 2-way contract
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Viktor Loov to a one-year, two-way contract.
General manager Ray Shero announced the deal on Tuesday, noting the deal is worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
The 24-year-old Loov spent the 2016-17 season in the American Hockey League between the Albany Devils and Toronto Marlies. He was acquired by New Jersey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Sergey Kalinin on Feb. 18. He played in 10 regular-season games with Albany and in three Calder Cup playoff contests against the Marlies.
In 180 career AHL contests, Loov has 11 goals and 31 assists (see full story).
Penguins: NHL's concussion spotter didn't pull Crosby
An NHL concussion spotter did not find Sidney Crosby's headfirst slide into the boards as a valid reason to remove him from the Pittsburgh Penguins' Game 6 against the Washington Capitals.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the centralized concussion spotter made the determination that the play did not meet the concussion protocol criteria for mandatory removal from play. The protocol says a player must be removed if a spotter sees symptoms after taking a blow to his head or upper torso from another player's shoulder, his head hitting the ice or taking a punch to the head.
Daly says the current criteria without boards aren't random but based on a study that determined what events on the ice were "more likely indicators or predictors of (a) concussion."
Crosby slid into the boards exactly one week after he was knocked out of Game 3 by a blow the head from the Capitals' Matt Niskanen. He missed Game 4 with a concussion (see full story).
Olympics: IIHF president hopes NHL changes its mind
PARIS -- The NHL still has a couple more months to reverse its decision and opt to participate in next year's Olympics in South Korea.
International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel said Tuesday his organization was in contact with the National Hockey League Players' Association two or three times per week, hoping to work out a solution that will bring the sport's biggest stars to Pyeongchang.
"I would say the latest we can do is end of June, beginning of July, for calendars, schedules, arenas," Fasel said at a news conference during the hockey worlds. "We will see."
Fasel, who is Swiss, also said he plans to call NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, but he didn't seem too enthusiastic about his chances (see full story).