The Kovalchuk Sweepstakes
Where will Ilya Kovalchuk end up? That is the question that has been asked for a while now, and will be until he’s dealt (or signs in the summer). With the Flyers as a potential suitor (with about 20 other teams rumored as well), we can take a look at the ramifications and the feasibility of such a deal. I touched on Kovalchuk last week as he and the Thrashers came to town for a game, but didn’t go into much detail.
With Kovalchuk comes a $6.4 million cap hit, which is definitely worth it for a player of his caliber, but he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. The Flyers seem to believe he wants about $9 million per year when (and if) he gets to free agency. The Flyers won’t able able to afford that amount of money. Can they afford Kovalchuk for the rest of the season though as a rental? Is that even the best course of action for the team and its immediate future? No doubt Kovalchuk gives the Flyers a legit sniper but will he put the team over the hump to a good chance to win the Cup?
As of right now, the team seems to have chemistry and is playing better than they have. It’s seeming like they are turning a corner, as they move up the standings. On paper, this team is a Stanley Cup contender. The problem with that is that they have (at times) not lived up to expectations.
According to Tim Panaccio, it will take “one forward and one defenseman that adds up to what Kovalchuk makes” and there could be a deal. So looking at the roster, there are a few possibilities of combinations, but a couple players have No Trade/Movement Clauses. Will they waive them? Could happen, might not. Depends on the player and their desire to be traded and to what team.
Playing GM, if we trade a forward and a defenseman, you insert Kovalchuk in for the forward spot, but have another hole at defense. Signing Lukas Krajicek over the weekend was Holmgren’s way of plugging a hole until some of the injured players get healthy. Making a deal before the Olympic break would force Bartulis or Krajicek onto the 2nd pair until Parent and Syvret come back. As I said last week, defense is the achilles of the team at this point (at least the bottom couple).
Would I love to have Kovalchuk on our roster? Absolutely, who wouldn’t? But will Kovalchuk be happy on a team with no Russians? Maybe it won’t matter. Do the recent Scott Hartnell rumors have anything to do with Kovalchuk, or is it some teams inquiring about him; just GMs chatting?
Personally, if I had to put money on it, I’d still think Kovalchuk gets dealt to the Kings, if anyone.
(Edit: I don’t think this will happen any time soon, just who I’d pick if he’s dealt at the deadline)