Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
Blog Entry

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

Posted on: February 4, 2010 9:46 pm

This was the best deal Atlanta could get for Ilya Kovalchuk. It just wasn’t good enough.

Not for a franchise player. Not for one of the game’s great scorers. Not when a team desperate for a playoff spot is just one point out.

Not by a long shot.

This deal is the worst of all worlds for the Thrashers.  They did little to help themselves in the short term and arguably even in the long term by getting defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, controversial junior prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round pick that could be near the bottom of the round from the New Jersey Devils. And they lost the only player anyone in their generally disinterested market may have been familiar with.

Thrashers Don Waddell blew this. Then again he was destined to as soon as the season began and a contract extension hadn’t been worked out for the pending unrestricted free agent. As hard as Waddell tried hard to create a market for a superstar player, he had his back to the wall and no way to push off.

Waddell’s best shot at striking it appropriately rich was during the off season when more teams might have been inclined to give up some big names and gamble they could re-sign the player before he hit free agency this summer. But Waddell held out hope that he could convince Kovalchuk to commit to Atlanta, going as far as adding free agents to make the team more competitive and theoretically more appealing to its captain.

It worked to the extent that Atlanta is in the playoff hunt right now. And Kovalchuk did keep saying how much he liked Atlanta and wanted to stay there. Maybe he did. Those close to him say his feelings were genuine. But Kovalchuk always had dollars signs in his eyes and according to Waddell, turned down several major offers. One would have paid him over $100 million, another would have averaged $10 million per season.

That wasn't enough though, making  it imperative for Atlanta to move him, the sooner the better. The gun would have felt much colder next to Waddell's head by the March trade deadline, but even now, the problem was the lack of teams able to fork over that kind of money. And there were even fewer willing to give up much on the chance he would be something other than a rental who could end up back in Russia next season.

So New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello bided his time and then pounced. The Devils’ Stanley Cup window is closing as goaltender Martin Brodeur gets older and they could be a strong contender this season with a scoring boost Kovalchuk will provide. Think of an offense that includes him, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner.

Not bad huh. And certainly worth the price even if the Devils don’t re-sign Kovalchuk because anything New Jersey gave up is easily replaceable.
In other words, New Jersey comes out the big winner in this blockbuster trade. And once again, Atlanta gets burned.


Category: NHL

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2010 5:05 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

 We will never sign one or trade for one. If you can't keep the only face of this franchise, what can you offer to a star not already in town.

What did you want Atlanta to do ?  They offered the guy just over 100 million dollars to stay and he refused to sign the deal.  That offer was more then fair and if you are blaming management for Kovy leaving then you sir have a few holes in your head that need patching.

If you want to blame anybody blame the fans.  They aren't filling the building on a consistent basis and didn't do so even when Kovy was there.  I have no idea what Atlanta fans wanted management to do?

They treated the guy like gold and begged for him to stay offering him an insane amount of money..... he said no, so he's gone.

If you are saying they didn't get enough for him in the trade then that is a different story.  But to say it's their fault for not being able to keep a franchise player is just insane.. ridiculous... etc.

They did their best... and you wait and see.  He'll be lucky as hell if anybody else even approaches those numbers for him in the summer.  This is a salary cap leage and Kovy is a one way one dimensional player.  Yes, he's a fantastic offensive player but the fact remains he is one dimensional.  I'll be shocked if anybody offers him 100 million dollars.....

Since: Feb 3, 2010
Posted on: February 6, 2010 10:36 am

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

GREAT trade for the Devils. Just what they needed...a solid proven scorer that when Elias comes back (and they shouldn't rush him back) will make the Devils a formidable offensive team. With Brodeur in goal they are solid defensively. Sure they gave up some pretty good talent but when your in a position to make a run at the Stanley Cup by making 1 key trade then you have to go for it. Sure you may not resign Kovalchuk and have lost several good players but with Lou Lamoriello at the helm their are players ready to take their places. Look for the Devils to regain their winning ways and make a strong run come playoff time...all assured by this trade. 

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2010 7:51 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

Lou Lamoriello is not by far the best GM in the league, not by a long shot.  Burke, McPhee and Holland are all just as good.  If you look at it objectively, no one is a better dealer than Burke (trades to get Sedins), no one has a better eye for young talent than McPhee (found Olaf Kolzig and drafted Mike Green earlier in the draft than expected) and no one designs a team better than Holland.  Lamoriello is very good, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here.  Oh and far as the trade goes, it didn't have as much to do with his talent as Atlanta's desperation.

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2010 6:38 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

Good to know Pens fans are sleeping on the Caps...could be in for a rude awakening!

Since: Oct 10, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2010 3:22 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

This is a good deal for Atlanta. For three months of Kovalchuk, they got a very solid Johnny Oduya on defense. He's locked up for another two years at 3 million a year. Nicklas Bergfors is a swedish youngster who looks to have some offensive upside. He's an RFA at the end of this year but probably easy to resign. The first round pick is problematical. If the devils win a cup 30 th isn't going to be that great and they swapped 2nd round picks so Atlanta wants, needs  to finish as high as possible. They've also got cap room and have freed room up. They can add a rental player at the trade deadline. They could sign Kovalchuk in the off-season. If he doesn't sign with Atlanta they can sign other players in the off-season. They have Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane as two young talented assets. They have two first round picks this year. They have two young talented goalies and they can probably trade one for offensive talent. I'm not convinced that paying Kovalchuk 20% of the teams cap would be the best way to bring a winner to Atlanta. And with Kovalchuk or without him they're drawing flies in Atlanta. There closer to building a winner next year then they were this year.
I did think Atlanta could make the playoffs this year. This certainly hurts those chances. They weren't going to win any playoff series though. I'd actually love to see Atlanta play New Jersey in the first round especially if Atlanta spends a couple sheckels at trade deadline. I honestly think Jersey is a beatable team. Their defense isn't what it was two or three years ago, and their  offense even with Kovalchuk revolves around 3-4 players. And Old Man Bordeur has looked really beatable the last two playoffs. Yup I'd pay money to see a frist round devil thrasher match-up.

Since: Apr 3, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2010 1:40 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

Yell Evidently, Mister Kovalchuk didn't like Atlanta all that much or else he wouldn't have thumbed his nose at this Thrashers fan.  Personally, I think the Thrashers are better off without him.  As a Thrashers fan, I'm glad he and his "me first" attitude are gone.  If he wants to go to New Jersey, then the Devils probably deserve him.  Good bye Kovy and good riddance!  Personally, I don't think the Thrashers were Koed.  I merely regard this situation as a temporary setback.  Forget this and let's move on (in Atlanta that is).

Since: May 24, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2010 12:51 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

What did the flyers and rangers offer?I didn't see their offers,thanks..

Since: Jan 26, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2010 12:40 pm


Another conformation that the league has to many teams

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 5, 2010 12:25 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

As a Flyers fan I can say that for once I am glad to see the Flyers not go after a guy like this.  The Flyers always unload good young talent it seems near the trade deadline for rentals and it never works (Remember Adam Oates?).  The Flyers have a ton of offensive talent and don't really need Kovy.

The Devils were already having a great year and this will definitely help make them more dangerous.  I think they were smart to trade the rights to Cormier, he is a risk with pending legal action hanging over his head.  I still like the Caps and Pens over the Devils, but this levels the playing field a little.

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: February 5, 2010 12:02 pm

Atlanta KO'd by Kovy

The move just doesn't make sense. I understand that to get a player like Kovalchuk in a trade in beneficial for almost anyone, but going into Jacques Lemaire's Devils isn't the right fit (even for a short period of time) for Kovalchuk. He is notoriously known for not back checking and has even been benched for it on several occasions in Atlanta! A team that has nothing to play for! Yes, he does have the best plus/minus of his career this season, but that doesn't change from the player he is. He scores a goal, that’s what he does. Marian Gaborik HATED playing for Lemaire in Minnesota and we only saw his full potential in his final season there and now he is exploding with the Rangers. Maybe Kovalchuk is chasing a cup and looking for a huge contract in the offseason that he can sit back on with and score goals again, but this move will be a huge test for him as well as for the Devils. I never like top teams who have a certain style of play make a blockbuster late in the season, but I think you can’t turn down a player like Kovalchuk. Time will only tell how this pans out. Lamoriello is known for making drastic moves late in the season such as firing Coach Claude Julien, so to me this will be interesting move.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or