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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.
Some players around the League find themselves at a career crossroad. A crossroad with tough decisions to make regarding ongoing speculation of their final season. Speculation whether to stay on a sinking ship and finish at the bottom of the sea or leaving one’s comfort zone in an attempt to stay on top. Certainly no easy decision for any player
While Scott Niedermayer ponders his future in hockey he continues another solid year in his famed career. The same cannot be said for the Anaheim Ducks, who sit 13th in the Western Conference despite coming off a come from behind victory against the Colorado Avalanche. The team finds themselves as of this writing a mere five points behind the eighth seed.
The asking price for the captain should be reasonable, as he would strictly be a playoff rental. However, GM Brian Murray can acquire a potential piece or pieces to build for a brighter future in sunny Anaheim.
A quick look around the league shows there are a few teams in need of Niedermayer’s services. At 37, he still is one of the best defensemen in the game and a huge piece for a few teams looking for that extra push into serious cup contention.
Lets take a closer look at which teams could trade for Niedermayer in order to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup. Even though he already carries four Stanley Cup rings to his credit, every player in this league starts the season with one goal in mind.
Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank runs down the Islanders need for a new defenseman in his latest entry. A few main points from the article:
A move could easily be made for all these rumored available defensemen. As I wrote earlier, I don’t think Carolina is purely in “sell-mode” yet, moving Ward will make the team younger and may even be a bit of addition by subtraction. Getting rid of a vet not necessarily working out may wake up some other underachieving players. I still feel Carolina will need a young defenseman coming back or will have to wait for Corvo to return from injury to replace Ward’s minutes.
Interesting to see what will happen on the Island. They are willing to spend, which is a welcome change to a very promising young team.
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The big three in Chicago reportedly signed today. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both for 6.3 a year for five years and Duncan Keith 72 million over 13 years. By my calculations, the Blackhawks need at least 4.5 million off the books to even get under the cap and realistically around 7 million to round out their roster.
Analyzing their roster and cap room, NHLHS will break down the most likely candidates to be moved and what their trade value may be. All value is based on recent trades in the market.
Patrick Sharp, RW – The 27 year old is one of many talented right wings on the team. In theory, this could make him expendable with Kane and Marian Hossa naturally lining up on the right side. Sharp’s cap hit is 3.9 million, a manageable sum if he produces to his potential. His market value is relatively high due to his age.
Projected value: Two young roster players or prospects knocking on the door, preferably a forward and defensemen.
Brian Campbell, D – The 30 year old defensemen carries a lofty $7,142,875 cap hit. Although a big dent in the Hawks cap number he remains an elite puck-moving defensemen who can QB a power-play with the best of them. An argument can be made that shedding Campbell’s contract would alleviate every cap problem Chicago is dealing with. It would also open up a glaring hole on a strong PP, not something a Stanley Cup contender should do. Not to mention there is entirely no way his contract will be moved, Bob Gainey simply does not have the cap space anymore.