For the past couple of weeks there have been a lot of different rumors that Atlanta Thrasher’s star forward, Ilya Kovalchuk, will be moved before the trade deadline.
There are many teams rumored to be suitors for Kovalchuk, but there is no clear favorite. Some of the teams that are listed as interested in acquiring the Russian superstar are the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, and the Boston Bruins. Also the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) are trying to bring Kovalchuk over seas and have more money to offer than any of the NHL clubs.
The biggest thing about trying to get Kovalchuk is the asking price. Teams will have to give up high draft picks to young prospects. His contract expires at the end of the season with no guarantee that he will re-sign at the end of the season. Some teams are in better place to make the risk than others.
Right now the Chicago Blackhawks are my favorite to land Kovalchuk. According to ESPN, the most likely trade scenario would include Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg and a few draft picks being shipped off by the Blackhawks. I believe that they can give up these players for a player like Kovalchuk. It would give the Hawks two star quality lines. He would be joining Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks are already at the top of the standings and are arguably the best team in the league. With the addition of Kovalchuk they can expect to make a good run at the Stanley Cup.
Reports are saying that the Islanders, Capitals, Bruins, and Kings are interested in the chance to acquire Kovalchuk.
Any of these teams can end up with Kovalchuck but he could easily stay with the Thrashers for the rest of the season. With the amount of teams that are pushing hard to get him, I believe that he will find a new home by the trade deadline. Whatever team ends up with Kovalchuk will have added a pure sniper and a better shot at lasting in the playoffs.