Bye-Bye Blue Land; Ilya Kovalchuk Has to Go

Cody MillardCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 28:  Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers warms up before playing against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 28, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

There's no denying the kid has talent. He is a game-breaker. With the ability to pick up the Atlanta Thrashers in any game, sling them to his back, and carry them to a victory; these are qualities normally attached to household names like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Martin Brodeur.

But if one were to look at the above-mentioned players, their team's are great and have been so for a few years. Ilya Kovalchuk on the other hand has had to battle with inconsistent team-mates and a revolving door of centreman.

I understand this new age of hockey promotes loyalty to your team, but that's no excuse to kill your own chances at winning hockey's greatest prize, the Stanley Cup.

The Atlanta Thrashers are simply not good enough without him in their line-up to string together a couple of wins; exactly what happened earlier in the season when Kovalchuk was out with a broken foot.

He missed six games where the Thrashers went 3-3 including a Shootout victory over St. Louis. After he returned to the line-up however they managed to close the month of November 7-1-2. Kovalchuk produced big with 6 goals and 9 assists in those ten games.

So why would Ilya Kovalchuk want to sign on with the Thrashers long-term?

At the halfway point in the season the Thrashers are trying to avoid missing the play-offs yet again. This could be the ninth time in ten seasons since joining the league in 1999.

Any player in the NHL will tell you that they want to win the Stanley Cup; you’d have to be crazy not to want that.

So if Kovalchuk is going to keep his best interests at heart he should be going to Thrashers GM Don Waddell and requesting to be traded to a contender at the deadline, and then he can evaluate where he signs after a play-off run for the Cup.

Because if we break this down realistically the Thrashers will get a huge return for trading a player of his calibre to a team wanting to solidify there chances at winning a cup.

You need to look no further than teams such as the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, and Los Angeles Kings looking for that final piece to their roster that will push them over the top.

The Thrashers could get a return that makes them better long-term, and Kovalchuk puts himself in a position to win.

What Don Waddell has to decide, does saving money with a package of prospects and picks outweigh selling off the face of the franchise.

So Mr. Kovalchuk, the ball is in your court.