2010 Trade Deadline Preview – Everything’s Not Peachy in Atlanta

Jeff Angus


Ilya Kovalchuk

Ilya Kovalchuk has been the face of the Atlanta Thrashers since he came into the league close to a decade ago. The Thrashers have seen their share of star players come and go (most notably Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa), but Kovalchuk has been there through thick and (mostly) thin. However, it appears that his time in Atlanta is running out, especially with Bob McKenzie stating last week that he is completely confident that Kovalchuk will get moved at the deadline. When rumour mongers mention Kovalchuk's name in passing, it doesn't hold much weight, but Bob McKenzie's word is about as good as it gets in the hockey world.

What teams could realistically acquire Kovalchuk? What will it take to land the former Rocket Richard winner? How will a potential deal impact the fantasy values of both players on Kovalchuk's new team?



Why? Chicago has one of the strongest rosters in the NHL and Kovalchuk may push them over the top this season. Atlanta GM Don Waddell has gone on record stating that he wants proven NHL players in return for Kovalchuk – not just futures. Chicago has a plethora of young NHL talent signed to reasonable contracts. Players like Cam Barker, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, and Dustin Byfuglien would all interest the Thrashers. Kovalchuk plays the left side, and would immediately give Chicago two dominant top lines up front. In addition, imagine a top power play unit featuring Keith, Kovalchuk, Hossa, Toews, and Kane? Yowzas! Chicago will have to dump some salary in the off-season anyways, so they might as well put it to good use while they can, right?

Why not? Cap space. Chicago picking up Kovalchuk would surely just be a rental for the stretch drive, as they would have no chance at re-signing him long term (unless he decides to take a league minimum salary). The Hawks would be able to afford Ilya for the rest of this season by moving out comparable salary.

The offer. Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, Kyle Beach, and their 2010 1st round draft pick.

The impact. Kovalchuk would make one of the most lethal offences in the entire league even more dangerous. With Hossa and Kane on the right side, Kovalchuk would provide a superstar on the left. Dave Bolland would stand to benefit the most, as the quality of wingers on the second line would im