Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts on Kovalchuk

So it has been made public that the Atlanta Thrashers have let superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk and his agent know that they will be looking for a trade instead of re-signing him. Many teams in the league have been rumored to be in the running to land the Russian sniper but could the Avs be one of the possible destinations for Ilya? It's fun to wonder.

The Thrashers have said that they would want a top 6 forward, top 4 defenseman and a top notch prospect or high end draft pick. If I was Greg Sherman, I would consider sending the following package:

Wojtek Wolski: He had been in and out of Joe Sacco's doghouse in the early parts of the season but his strong showings on the team's top line through December and January have really increased his trade value. Kovalchuk would be a definite upgrade over Wolski as well.

John Michael Liles: Like Wolski, Liles found himself in Sacco's doghouse a few weeks ago. He was benched for a game and responded well with 9 points in the next 10 games. He's a capable power play QB as he was a huge reason why the PP was so hot early in the season up until his injury. The PP fell to the bottom of the league in his absence but has risen to 18th as he is getting healthier. Losing Liles would hurt the PP but the offensive talent of Kovalchuk would make up for it.

Tyson Barrie: Avs prospect drafted in 2009 (3rd round 64th overall). His 59 points leads his Kelowna Rockets' (WHL) club and also puts him in a tie for 1st in defensive scoring leaders in the WHL.

The big problem with acquiring Kovalchuk is whether he will re-sign with the club or if he will just be a playoff rental. As far as a draft pick going Atlanta's way goes, it would have to be conditional on whether or not he signs with the Avs. The Avs have the cap space to get Kovalchuk under contract especially after giving up Wolski and Liles' contracts. He has already turned down $120 million from Atlanta but that just seems to be him not wanting to be there anymore. Put him on a young, up and coming team, and his price tag should drop. It is a lot to give up on what could just be a rental for a few months but his offense would be a huge help down the stretch and into the playoffs.

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