You can smell it in the air that trading deadline is looming, especially when you hear trade rumors flying all over the place. This year’s edition of the poster boy is someone truly extra-ordinary. Kovalchuk, the only franchise player the Thrashers have, ever since Heatley and Hossa left, is perhaps the best player you can find out in the market, if not the best player in the NHL “period”.
This may be the reason why blogs, and semi-commentators throughout the hockey world find writing articles about the Russian superstar irresistible, no matter how in-sensible this is.
As I write this, Eklund is speculating an imminent trade for Kovalchuk by the Kings, Bruins, Hawks, Flyers and even the Canucks. It understandable, and almost predictable that Eklund will just throw out any team he feels have a slightest chance of this happening. But for TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie to twit about Kovalchuk possibly landing in Calgary really does it for me, and I have to come out and say something.
No, Kovalchuk ISN’T going anyway, guys, he will be back with Atlanta next seasons, and many many more seasons after that.
Another thing I want to say is, no the Canucks WON’T be trading for Kovalchuk, it makes no sense what-so-ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Kovalchuk, and would probably poop my pants if this happens, but the chance of this happening is probably slimmer than Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer wearing an “I’m a Mac” T-shirt.
Kovalchuk is asking for salary somewhere in the neighborhood of $10M per season, and he won’t consider signing with any other team for less than that. With how the Sedins are playing right now with Burrows, the Canucks don’t need a $10M forward to do what a $2M Burrows can. It’s even more crazy to imagine Kovalchuk signing on with the Canucks if he’s playing alongside Kesler and Samuelsson as a 2nd line LW. And we haven’t even begin what the Canucks can offer to Atlanta just to land him in Vancouver in the first place, let alone re-signing him.
So, no, unfortunately, this won’t happen for the Canucks. But what about the other teams??
Yes, I can imagine teams like the Kings, Bruins, Hawks and Flyers are drooling over the thought of Kovie in their line-up. But who isn’t? I think the Red Wings can use someone like Ilya, what about the Avs or the Canadiens?? Of course they would, but at what price??
The current situation is, from what I’ve heard, is that Waddell hasn’t allowed any other teams to talk to Kovie’s agent, fearing that any talks with other will affect their price and the chance of signing Ilya back. Ilya is pretty content will just riding out the season, and give his last efforts to get the Thrashers into playoffs and do some damage before he bolt in the offseason. Ilya knows that only in the open market will he be able to get the most, of course he doesn’t mind helping his old team if he is able to bring someone back the other way, but if it doesn’t happen, he probably wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it either.
Waddell, on the other hand, needs to get the most from Kovie, and he can only do that if he can trade a signed Kovalchuk. A rental Kovalchuk can probably bring him half or a quarter of his worth. However this will not happen if Waddell doesn’t allow Kovie’s agent to talk to any teams.
So what does this mean??
If Waddell is telling everyone that the Thrashers are considering trading Kovalchuk, but he’s not doing anything to help that cause, it could only mean that he isn’t really trying to trade him. One point in their negotiation, Waddell and Kovie were very close to getting it done. Rumor has it that the salary amount is agreed upon, just the number of years was settled. If a superstar like Kovalchuk is happy to stay in a losing team like the Thrashers, and the only obstacle is the $$$, with the cap not being an issue, this usually works out to the favor of the player.
I mean, if Kovalchuk is unhappy with the team and is opting to leave, like the recent story with another Thrasher-drafted superstar, it’s one thing, but if he’s happy to stay???
Think of it this way, if Waddell isn’t able to get a completely lopsided deal for Kovalchuk, and time is running out, do you honestly think that Waddell will let him walk for nothing?? I don’t think Waddell will be willing to accept any sub-par offer for Kovalchuk, if the other option is to just give what Kovie wants.
What’s the worst that’s going to happen if Waddell sign him to the allowed maximum or for a shorter period?? So yeah, his Cap-hit is higher, but Waddell can still trade a $10M Kovalchuk easily next season, don’t forget a signed-Kovalchuk is worth so so so much more than a rental version.
So there you have it, I don’t think Kovalchuk is going anywhere this season, and with what he means to the team and the marketing success of the team, I think that once Kovalchuk is signed, Waddell won’t be trading him next season either. What you are seeing right now, is merely a game of bluff.