Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk skates against the Atlanta Thrashers...

Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk skates against the Atlanta Thrashers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. (April 6, 2010) Credit: AP

Islanders fans have been salivating at the prospect of bringing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk to Long Island since news broke Friday that the team expressed interest in the star sniper.

But after a night of buzz about the potential blockbuster deal, there is nothing new to report regarding the Islanders' pursuit of the 27-year-old left winger.

"I'm not going to repeat this every day," general manager Garth Snow said. "I've had a conversation with his agent [Jay Grossman] and I'll leave it at that."

Though the Internet is rife with speculation about the unlikely dark-horse contenders - ranging from plausible to outlandish - Snow did not want to comment further regarding the matter. "I'm not going to talk about every rumor out there," he said.

If nothing else, the past three days have marked a stark deviation from Snow's somewhat conservative approach to free agency during his tenure. Since the NHL's free-agency period began Thursday, Snow doggedly pursued defensemen Paul Martin and Dan Hamhuis (and outbid teams for both), then revealed Friday to multiple media outlets that he was among those clamoring for the year's most coveted free agent of all: Kovalchuk.

It has been widely reported that the Devils and Kings were competing for the perennial 40-goal scorer. Kovalchuk was traded to the Devils in February after spending his career with the Atlanta Thrashers beginning in 2001. Kovalchuk has 338 goals in 621 games. He became a free agent at the end of the season.

Now there's the prospect that he could be paired with John Tavares, bringing a veteran presence to Tavares' sophomore season.

"I have to do my due diligence and look at all the options, it's as simple as that," Snow told Newsday when reached by phone late Friday. "I made one preliminary call and we'll see where it goes. I felt it was my duty to make the call to inquire."

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