Tag:Don Waddell
Posted on: February 4, 2010 3:15 pm

Waddell issues statement regarding Kovalchuk

Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell issued a statement Thursday afternoon regarding Ilya Kovalchuk:

Our goal from the start of this negotiating process was to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract. During the process, Kovy affirmed his desire to be a Thrasher for life. We've spent several months exploring scenarios with Kovy and his agent to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and offered many lucrative packages in an attempt to meet his financial objectives. Unfortunately, we've reached an impasse and at this point he has declined all of our proposals and we can't reasonably go any higher.

Ultimately, we offered Kovy more than $101 million over 12 years, which would have been the highest contract signed by an impending unrestricted free agent in the history of the league. If accepted, this contract would have been the second highest offer ever to any NHL player.  We also met his desire to be the highest paid player based on average annual salary with a separate offer of 7 years at $10M per year ($70M).  This offer is $0.5M higher per year than any other player.

If we went beyond these offers, we would not be able to retain the young players on our roster when it came time to sign them, or invest in other top tier players needed to assemble a truly competitive team.  Therefore, we are aggressively exploring all of our options as we move forward.

Posted on: February 3, 2010 3:48 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2010 6:35 pm

Waddell to Kovalchuk: Pack your bags

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.
Posted on: January 29, 2010 3:05 pm

Odds & Ends: Jan. 29

  • The Minnesota Wild and Petr Sykora have mutually agreed to terminate his contract. Once the move is approved by the NHL, Sykora will become an unrestricted free agent. [Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
  • Penguins GM Ray Shero they have updated their list of potential trade targets. Pittsburgh would like to add a goal-scoring winger or physical defenseman before the trade deadline. [Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • Each of the Atlanta Thrashers' goaltenders -- Johan Hedberg, Kari Lehtonen and Ondrej Pavelec -- are free agents this summer, and GM Don Waddell has indicated one of them will probably be traded. Which player will be moved depends on Atlanta's performance over the next couple weeks. [Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Posted on: January 22, 2010 4:08 pm

Picks won't satisfy Thrashers

Talk earlier this week suggested the Boston Bruins could join the fray to acquire Ilya Kovalchuk because of their wealth of draft picks. TSN's Bob McKenzie says picks alone would not be enough for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Atlanta has made the playoffs just once in its 10-year history and failed to win any postseason games. That, coupled with the departure of two superstars, Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa, and lingering attendance issues, make it unreasonable for GM Don Waddell to go through another rebuilding process.

The Thrashers would need to receive a star player in return, McKenzie says. Two teams that could fill that need are the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames.

There is talk the Blackhawks are feeling pressure to win the Stanley Cup this season. Previous rumors have indicated they are looking for depth in net, while trying to unload players such as Cam Barker, Patrick Sharp or Kris Versteeg. TSN mentions Dave Bolland, who inked a five-year, $18 million deal in June, as another trade asset.

The Flames, meanwhile, could try to swing a deal by offering defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Earlier this month, however, Calgary GM Darryl Sutter told the National Post Phaneuf is not on the block.
Posted on: January 20, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: January 20, 2010 11:35 am

Kovalchuk-Savard reunion brewing?

News on the Ilya Kovalchuk front is slow, but that has not stopped pundits from speculating about potential destinations for the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.

There's talk Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli may make a pitch for Kovalchuk before the trade deadline, the Toronto Sun reports. The Bruins have two first-round picks in the 2010 draft. One of those, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel this past offseason, could end up being a top five pick. Given Atlanta's history in trading superstar players, such as Marian Hossa, it is likely the Thrashers would request a top pick in return.

Sending Kovalchuk to Boston would reunite him with playmaker Marc Savard, who suited up for Atlanta for a little more than two seasons. With Savard as his setup man, Kovalchuk captured the Richard Trophy with a 41-goal effort in 2003-04. In the season following the lockout, Kovalchuk posted a career high 52 goals and 98 points. Savard posted a career-high 69 assists and 97 points.

GM Don Waddell indicated talks with Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, are ongoing.

"The positive thing is the talks have continued," Waddell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "If talks break down because one side puts their shoes too far in the sand then you know you're probably at an impasse."
Posted on: January 12, 2010 2:55 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2010 2:57 pm

Thrashers not trading Kovalchuk... yet

Contract talks between the Atlanta Thrashers and soon-to-be free agent Ilya Kovalchuk have not gone well in recent weeks, but that does not mean the franchise player is on the block yet.

GM Don Waddell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution his first priority is to re-sign Kovalchuk. Waddell is still mulling whether to move Kovalchuk just before the trade deadline or let the winger play out the season and sign him before July 1.

"I probably didn't leave the door open enough at the beginning of the year because, obviously, I was hoping that this would be long done by now" Waddell told the paper.

According to the Toronto Star, Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk's agent, said his client would like to remain in Atlanta. That is, on his terms.

"If they came to him and said we'll make a deal on your terms, then we'll make a deal," Grossman said.
Posted on: October 20, 2009 12:54 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2009 2:08 pm

Thrashers competing with KHL to ink Kovalchuk

The Atlanta Thrashers have months to sign pending unrestricted free agent Ilya Kovalchuk, yet the pressure to get him inked is increasing.

A report out of Russia (via the New York Times) suggests the KHL's SKA St. Petersburg is prepared to offer millions to the Russian superstar this offseason. Salavat Yulaev Ufa has expressed interest in the winger, too.

The Times notes SKA, which is now wholly owned by Russia's largest company, Gazprom, could offer a tax-free sum greater than the taxable $7.5 million Kovalchuk makes in Atlanta.

"If you're competing against other NHL teams, it's one thing." Thrashers GM Don Waddell told The Sporting News. "If you're competing against another country that can pay whatever -- you can't. If his decision is to go play in Russia, I don't think we can do anything."

There may be hope yet for the Thrashers to re-sign their captain. The franchise is off to one of its best starts in team history and Kovalchuk is surrounded by countrymen Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov.

"This is the best team the franchise has ever had," Kovalchuk told The Globe & Mail. "It's fun to win, nobody wants to be losers ... I've been waiting a long time for this."
Posted on: October 19, 2009 4:27 pm

Laviolette waiting patiently for coaching vacancy

Former Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette is biding his time as struggling teams prepare to make coaching changes.

The Ottawa Sun reports a number of teams have already been in touch with the Cup-winner. Among the teams mentioned who are off to slow starts and may look for a change behind the bench: Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Although the Atlanta Thrashers are off to one of their best starts in team history, a stumble could cause GM Don Waddell -- who is believed to be on the hot seat himself -- to dismiss John Anderson and hire Laviolette.

In the meantime, Laviolette will head Team USA's Men's Select Team, which will compete at the Deutchland Cup in Munich, Germany from Nov. 6-8.
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