Ilya Kovalchuk's days in Atlanta are done.
Thrashers GM Don Waddell met with Kovalchuk Wednesday and informed him to expect a trade within the next few hours or days, TSN reports.
"It certainly appears to be the direction the club is moving in," Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Ilya's disappointed. But we appreciate the fact they've been honest about what their plans are."
TSN's Bob McKenzie says about six teams are in the mix for Kovalchuk and that a deal may take a couple days to sort itself out.
Waddell has been busy scouting players in recent days, the Canadian Press and Journal-Constitution report.
The Canadian Press said Waddell scouted the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday during their trip to New Jersey, and took in an New York Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers game last week in Philadelphia. The Journal-Constitution confirms the latter.
The Kings are frequently linked to Kovalchuk talks due to their wealth of cap space and young prospects. The Islanders are in a similar situation, but GM Garth Snow has said he does not want to break up his team's core.
Sources within the Flyers organization told Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia they are "all but out" of the bidding for Kovalchuk. A previous report in the Camden Courier Post suggested a deal would have to involve Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and/or James vanRimesdyk.
According to Canadian network RDS, Waddell says the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are among the teams after Kovalchuk.
Blogger and former Islanders VP of Communications Chris Botta says the Bruins have made a legitimage pitch to Atlanta. Sun Media's Bruce Garrioch also notes Boston GM Peter Chiarelli stepped up his efforts to land Kovalchuk. Boston Globe beat writer Kevin Paul Dupont, however, reports the Bruins are not considered one of the serious bidders.
The Chicago Blackhawks have also been mentioned as possible suitors for the five-time 40-goal scorer. Former Thrashers beat writer Craig Custance reports this is not the case. TSN's McKenzie says the Calgary Flames, also mentioned as an interested party, are out of the mix, too.
The teams that try to acquire Kovalchuk will have to do it somewhat blindly in regards to a contract extension. Waddell will not allow other teams to negotiate a new deal for the forward prior to any trade.
Another report in the Journal-Contitution, citing local sports radio host John Kincade, says Atlanta offered their captain a long-term deal that would have paid $10 million a season. The paper notes it would have been the largest contract ever offered to an unrestricted free agent.
Journal-Constitution sports columnist Jeff Schultz, also a former Thrashers beat writer, reports Kovalchuk wanted the maximum salary allowed under the collective bargaining agreement -- 20 percent of Atlanta's payroll or $11.3 million. The captain also sought a deal in the 10-to-12 year range. Atlanta's last offer was $101 million for 12 years, which breaks down to a little more than $8.4 million a season.
Waddell to Kovalchuk: Pack your bags
Posted on: February 3, 2010 3:48 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2010 6:35 pm