March 21, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) looks on from the bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Roundup: Your Morning Links

Welcome to your NHL Roundup, where we provide you with your Morning Links from around the NHL.  The action on the ice may be over but there is never an off-season off the ice.

The bombshell from yesterday is the news that New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk will retire from the NHL to return home to Russia, leaving $77M on the table:

“This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia,” Kovalchuk said in a statement released by the team. “Though I decided to return this past season, [general manager] Lou [Lamoriello] was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils, a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”

Derek Roy has passed his physical and officially signs with the Blues:

Roy and the Blues had agreed to terms on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Ottawa native split last season between Dallas and Vancouver. He had four goals and 18 assists in 30 games with the Stars before the Canucks acquired him at the trade deadline for defenceman Kevin Connauton and a second-round pick.

Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the winners and losers of free-agency thusfar. Helpful reminder that paying David Clarkson over $5M/year is not a way to get in the “winners” column:

What I disagree with is them getting out of Mikhail Grabovski’s bad contract and then entering into a new one by signing David Clarkson to a seven-year, $36.75 million deal.  Clarkson does a lot of things well.  He’s physical and he can score, even though he’s only reached the 30-goal plateau once in his career.  He’s basically a great third liner or a subpar top-six forward.  On top of that, he’s 29 years old, so if anything, he’ll decline as this deal goes on.  It just seems like a contract the Leafs will come to regret.

And finally, The Hockey Writers takes a look at the top 10 franchise players in the league right now. Let the debate begin:

This is a touchy topic because it’s so subjective, and of course, there are many outstanding players in the National Hockey League worthy of consideration as the best franchise player. The list I’ve made considers accomplishments, talent, promise, skill level, status, intangibles, and impact on the game. There is no point system or scale, rather, I try and look at the entire picture and list the ten players that I would want to start a franchise with. Each of the top 10 have proven over and over again that they are amazing, every year.

Follow me on Twitter: @RWTFC

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Tags: Free Agent Frenzy Ilya Kovalchuk New Jersey Devils NHL

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