It looks like the biggest potential free agent in Hockey will be traded before the Olympics even get started.
Two reports have surfaced that Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell has informed star player and captain Ilya Kovalchuk that he will be traded. Waddell has been negotiating with Kovalchuk's agent for the past several months and there have been numerous reports of an impasse.
Today's story from TSN in Canada RIGHT HERE
And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution RIGHT HERE
((IlyaKovalchuk will be leaving the//Courtesy tsn.ca))
There has been a lot of speculation that a few of the contending teams and a few of the bottom dwellers are interested in the Russian sniper. According to reports, the Thrashers had offered as much as a 10 year $100 million offer. If true, it is hard to believe that they would turn that down. Unless Kovalchuk decided that despite comments to the contrary, he didn't want to play in Atlanta, a team that can definitely be catagorized as a "Bottom Dweller".
With the OSG being based in Atlanta, we have seen and covered Kovy and the Thrashers for years. Kovalchuk will be fine wherever he lands, though he is best utilized as a sniper and not a team leader and captain. As for the Thrashers, they have been rebuilding pretty much since the day they started in the NHL and really never have gotten much better. There seems to be little committment by ownership to spend what is necessary to compete and most of the acquistions by Waddell seem to be either washed up or just not very good.
With a small fan base, the team is in deep trouble. Yes, Atlanta is a large market and they will support a team that wins. But the Thrashers are very reminiscent of the Braves teams of the mid-1980's. In today's NHL, that may not be enough to keep the team in the South's largest city...only time will tell.