All sources are pointing out that a deal for Ilya Kovalchuk is going to happen before the Olympic break, and most agree that it may even happen by the end of this week. The interested teams have been narrowed down to the Rangers, Devils, Flyers, Bruins, Kings and Blackhawks. I, like many, predicted last week that Kovalchuk would be dealt to the Kings, but now, something is telling me that the Rangers may be in the front running. They have already made a "low ball offer" to get the juices flowing, but if they were not sincerely interested, they wouldn't have made an offer at all.
Glen Sather is going to go all out in the next few weeks, but it will be tricky, as he will try to land the superstar without sacrificing the future. So just what would it take to get him? Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Don Waddell is asking for five assets. When it comes to draft picks, the Bruins are the favorite in that department. But when it comes to cheap youth, the Rangers may have the edge. Below is a three way deal I have drawn up that could land Kovalchuk in Ranger blue.
2010 First Round Pick
2011 First Round Pick
Garnet Exelby (from TOR)
Where Toronto fits in is as follows; Brian Burke has already publicly stated that he would be willing to take on bad contracts in exchange for draft picks. For the Rangers to make this deal work, Redden has to be dealt. It is not realistic he would be waived, nor would Atlanta want him. But with Sather being good friends with Burke, perhaps some persuasion and this year's first round pick would be enough to sway him.
As for Atlanta, the Thrashers do extremely well here and the Rangers really do not sacrifice much of the future to get him. Fans will have a tough time saying goodbye to Callahan and Dubinsky, but they can be replaced. I for one am not crazy about either one and would not shed a tear over them. But for Atlanta, they get these two young, energetic players that isn't a bad deal for a player they know is not going to re-sign with them. Chris Kreider is also included, and he could be enticing as well, since he is the fastest player in the Rangers farm system. Grachev could also be substituted for him. As for Sanguinetti, apparently the rest of the league thinks highly of him, although he has been pretty much a non factor here. The Rangers also include next year's first round pick to seal the deal.
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