Ilya Kovalchuk Moving On?

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Ilya Kovalchuk Moving On?

Reflecting on the Atlanta Thrasher’s first half it seemed like only a matter of time before their leader and former 2001 first overall pick Ilya Kovalchuk signed a long term contract. After a successful off season that saw the Thrashers add some much needed offence of Maxim Afinogenov (31 points), Nik Antropov (31 points) and Pavel Kubina (20 points +15) Kovalchuk who is an unrestricted free agent this coming July expressed some special praise towards the team’s GM Don Waddell. Approximately five weeks ago it was music to the management and fan’s ears when the 26 year old expressed how by far this year’s team is the most talented in franchise history. He also expressed his excitement about what they can accomplish this season. Despite feeling rejuvenated and having a chance to play with his good friend Antropov the city of Atlanta received some bad news on Monday when Waddell revealed that contract talks with Kovalchuk hit a snag. “Our position is different than his position right now,” Waddell said. “Their position is fixed years with money and we have a different side of that. That’s what we have to work though.”  Even though the Thrashers are fighting tooth and nail to make the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history Waddell will still negotiate during the regular season with Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman. If the two parties can’t close the gap between now and the March trading deadline then there is a reasonable chance that Kovalchuk who currently leads the team with 37 points could be traded. Good news for Thrashers fans is that their leading franchise point scorer (594) doesn’t want to go anywhere. “It’s a business,” Kovalchuk said. “It’s (management’s) decision, but I like everything here. Like I’ve said a lot of times, I want to play with one team all my life, but you never know.”

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