So here's my idea. Jordan Staal and Ryan Whitney of the Pittsburgh Penguins for Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers.
Why this idea is good for the Penguins?
First, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Staal are natural centers. The notion to move one of them to the wing is simply a disservice to the Penguins and the player who gets moved to wing. Secondly, Staal is too good of a player to be getting third-line ice time and since he is a natural center, why not move him to another team for a wing.
Whitney can be a great defenseman but he sometimes struggles with confidence issues. He may not be fully recovered from his foot problems. The Penguins have plenty of defensemen and plenty of puck-moving defensemen, so why not move him to another team and let Alex Goligoski step up and continue to improve?
Third, this would be more than a possible three-month rental like Hossa since Kovalchuk has one more year on his contract. As well as, if i remember correctly, those two guys for Kovalchuk would be about the same money.
Why this is good for the Thrashers?
This would be immediately improving their team defensively and on top of that, Staal has shown the ability to put up great numbers offensively as well. Also, Whitney can really give an offensive boost to the Thrasher defense corps.
The other reason this is good for Don Waddell is I think he is really going to struggle convincing Kovalchuk to come back in a year. He can add two young players with a few years left on their contracts who have the potential to be great players. Plus, while both are young, they have already been to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Why this is good for Kovalchuk, Crosby and Malkin?
The possible line combinations will become endless for the Penguins, and Kovalchuk will have the quality team he deserves. Whether he plays with Malkin or Crosby, he will really have a chance to succeed.
This is just an idea, let me know what you think.