If you’ve read past work on this situation, where I’ve sited points from Canadian radio or other articles around the blogosphere, you would know that the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes keeps going.
Late last night, via twitter, conversations came up that Kovalchuck and the Thrashers have hit a point in contract talks with most speculating the drama will conclude by week’s end. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN stated in an article on Saturday that the new year would have some critical news in the Kovalchuck endeavors. Well, all signs are pointing to LeBrun’s speculation as accurate.
Supposedly Kovalchuk will sign a deal with the Thrashers worth between 8 million and 11 million per year in the range of a 10-12 years. This signing would be great news for the Thrashers organization and bad news for 29 other teams that hoping to acquire the Russian sniper with a tempting package.
Kovalchuck’s agent Jay Grossman and Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell met this weekend during the World Junior Hockey Championships and with the team presenting a deal to Grossman. Now the decision rests on Kovalchuk’s shoulders. Does he want to stay in Atlanta, a place he publicly stated he loves? Do his his fears of relocation trump this supposed love affair?
There are still other scenarios however.
The Thrashers could sign and trade the young superstar in hopes of receiving an even larger bounty. As previously speculated the team may relocate forcing Kovalchuk not to request a no trade clause. Although highly unlikely, the situation would make itself possible should fears escalate.
Regardless, this week could and very well should be the determining week to finally put this all speculation to rest. Let’s take some time to go over the rumors circulating.
A few weeks ago, Team 1040 rumored Kovalchuk to Washington. Adam Rotter of SNY Rangers Blog thinks he would be a good fit in New York. LeBrun believes the Hawks could be contenders in the sweepstakes. Even when The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta refutes all rumors consistently, they continue to swirl.
As of today at least four or five teams seem ready and willing to ante up. If these talks hit a wall again expect the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and probably 24 other GM’s to be working the phones in order to get in touch with Don Waddell.
What would you pay as a premium for a potential rental heading into the playoff stretch? Or, do you make sure that the only way you trade for him is if he is planning on a long-term stay with your organization. Either way, don’t let much of this fool you as everything is still pure speculation. Once he signs on the dotted line, we can move on to other topics, but we will continue to monitor this situation closely until that day.