TSN (via RDS) is reporting that Atlanta GM Don Waddell has informed star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to expect a trade. There are a possible five suitors, with the Rangers being named as one:
There is no indication that any deal with a specific team is imminent, but the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are included on a list of five or more teams who continue to express interest.
There is nothing wrong with expressing interest in Kovalchuk –all GMs around the league are kicking tires here and there– but you have to wonder, and fear, what Glen Sather is offering as a package for Kovalchuk. The package to get Kovalchuk is going to be similar to the package Waddell received for Marian Hossa a couple years ago: two young roster players (Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen), a top prospect (Angelo Esposito), and a first round pick. This would alter my original guess at what it would take to get the star winger. Not by much, but it does nonetheless.
To put this into Rangers terms they would be giving up somewhere along the lines of Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi, Bobby Sanguinetti, and a 2010 1st round pick for Kovalchuk and someone like Armstrong / Rich Peverley (I didn’t run the numbers, this is just a fair value comparison to the Pitt/Atl trade). I believe that is what the market for Kovalchuk will be, and I believe that Glen Sather should balk at this deal. That is way too much to give up, especially with the Rangers chances at playoff success past the first round dwindling faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career.
Maybe that’s a bit much for Kovalchuk, maybe someone pays more. All I know, is that if the Rangers sacrifice any top prospects or young roster players, someone is going to attempt to assassinate Glen Sather. Not me. But someone will.
Update 5:00pm: Kari Lehtonen will be traded as well.