The Atlanta Thrashers have dealt superstar sniper Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils in return for defenseman Johnny Oduya, winger Nicklas Bergfors, prospect (and the recently suspended) Patrice Cormier, and New Jersey's 2010 1st round draft pick. The two teams will also exchange 2nd round draft picks in 2010. Along with Kovalchuk, the Devils also received depth defenseman Anssi Salmela.
New Jersey gets: one of the best pure goal scorers in the game. Kovalchuk immediately makes their power play more dangerous, as his one timer from the point is one of the most potent attacks in all of hockey. He plays the left side so it will be interesting to see how they balance things out with Zach Parise there as well. Parise is a smart player and I wouldn't be surprised if he slots over to the right side. Salmela is a decent depth defenseman who can skate and move the puck. Him and Kovalchuk share the same agent and that may have played in to this. Will New Jersey re-sign Kovalchuk? It depends if he can buy in to the Kool-Aid that Lou Lamoriello will inevitably give him. New Jersey isn't as glamorous as LA or New York, but it is hard to argue with three cups in the past 15 years. Depends how much Kovalchuk wants to win I guess, doesn't it?
Atlanta gets: A steady top-four defenseman (and Olympian for Team Sweden) in Oduya. He missed some time this season due to injury, but he is capable of logging 20 minutes a night and should be a 25-40 point defenseman on the Thrashers, depending on power play time. His production this season (four points in 40 games) is disappointing, but that is due in large part to losing his spot on the top line. He formed the shut down pairing with Paul Martin for much of the past two seasons in New Jersey. He isn't a big name, but he is an upgrade that will help that team out.
Nicklas Bergfors is a gifted young forward who has blinding speed and great hands. He had a hot start to the season but has had trouble producing on a consistent basis as the season has continued. He has the upside to develop into a 30 goal, 70-80 point winger. This trade may help him out, as the