Last years trade deadline had so much promise and yet it ended in disappointment as neither Kovalchuk, Nash (who later signed an extension), Connolly, or Bouwmeester were dealt. However, this years trade deadline shows much more promise and perhaps more prosperity for the Buffalo Sabres.
Although at first glance a Kovlachuk deal to the sabres may look unlikely I've looked into rumors on what the Thrashers may be considering and perhaps their might be a chance. According to sources the Atlanta Thrashers are looking for a deal similar to the Joe Thorton deal a few years ago.
The asking prices is a top six forward (not too old), an A type prospect (i.e a first rounder), a young defenseman ( obviously has to be a decent prospect), and of course a first round pick.
So do the Sabres have what it takes to acquire Kovalchuk? Yes they do (permitted Darcy Regier feels necessary).
First of all the sabres have to make sure that the deal is good enough to acquire Kovalchuk but also is not too good because it seems that their is a 99.9 percent chance that Kovalchuk won't re sign with Buffalo for Regier's asking price.
First order of business is the top six forward, for me that would be Clarke Macarthur. He is second on the sabres in goals and at 24 years old he's still got un-tapped potential that could land him a 30+ goal season and considering the names floating around from other teams Macarthur might me Atlanta's best top 6 forward offered.
For the Grade A prospect there are a number of choices to go through, but the player I would put in the deal would be Mark Mancari. It might sound like too much but considering the Canucks are rumored to be willing to give up Michael Grabner, Mancari might be the only prospect Forward the Atlanta Thrahshers are willing to accept.
Not only was he AHL rookie of the year last year he also is having another strong season leading the Portland Pirates (affiliate AHL team of the Sabres) in points with 28 in 33 games. A hefty price to pay however this might me the part of the deal that entices Atlanta to part ways with Kovalchuck.
Now here is the easiest part of the deal for the Sabres, the defenseman. I would put Mike Weber in this deal. He is a decent prospect whos shot has been compared to Chirs Pronger however he has never worked out in Buffalo's system because he isn't exactly suited for Buffalo's new defensive style of Hockey.
Not a lot of other teams have the luxury the Sabres do when it comes to the defenseman side of prospects so they can afford to part ways with a guy like Mike Weber.
Of course their is the obvious cap issue so the Sabres and Thrasher will have to work out as a secondary part to this deal.
My suggestion would be getting rid of Jochen Hecht for a less expensive third liner. Hecht currently takes up $3.5 million of the sabres cap space and yet he plays on the third line and Henrik Tallinder who Sabres fans have wanted to see get traded for what now seems like forever. He would most likely be dealt for a pick, prospect or maybe nothing at all (which is still good considering his cap hit is $2.5 million)
Last and certainly the least of this teams worries should be the first round pick because lets face it, if the sabres do acquire Kovalchuk what are the chances of our pick being hire the 20th?
My finalized trade:
To ATL:Clarke Macarthur, Mark Mancari, Mike Weber, Jochen Hecht, Henrik Tallinder, and first round pick
To BUF:Ilya Kovalchuk, Jim Slater, Noah Welch
On another note I would like to make it clear that Jeff Carter will NOT be dealt, those rumors are fake.