For the Hawks, this trade would not only make them an even greater threat for the 2010 playoffs, but would also free up cap space. The Hawks already have Kane, Toews and Hossa as their headline players plus a great supporting casing of forwards. By adding Kovalchuk to the mix and probably only losing Versteeg, the Hawks would have more offensive ability than any other team in the league by a mile.
The only real concern would be the depth at defense. Their number seven defenseman, Jordan Hendry, would more than likely move up to fill the sixth defenseman spot. The player filling the number seven defenseman spot would be a giant question mark.
In terms of cap space, the Hawks would have $6.2 million in cap space if they dealt Versteeg and Barker as part of the deal and don’t resign Kovalchuk, which is something I do not think they would do. The $6.2 million that would be freed up would allow the Hawks to resign Niemi, Hjarmalsson, Ladd and or Madden.
A trade would allow Kovalchuk to not only be on a Stanley Cup championship caliber team, but he could always return to Atlanta once free agency begins. Kovalchuk has stated his desire to remain in Atlanta, but he would be a fool to pass up the chance, a very good chance, to win the Stanley Cup while he has a chance to.
Atlanta would be the winners of a trade that would send Kovalchuk to the Hawks. The Thrashers could pick up Versteeg, Barker, Skille, and a draft pick for Kovalchuk. Not only would the Thrashers improve their team by picking up some of the Hawks young talent, but the Thrashers would also have a chance to resign Kovalchuk this offseason.