Larry Brooks: Price Of Ilya Kovalchuk Too Much For Sather, Rangers

Mike SalernoCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 07:  Goaltender Chad Johnson #29 of the New York Rangers saves a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers during a shootout at Philips Arena on January 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

According to the The New York Post's Larry Brooks, the New York Rangers could be dropping out of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes.

Brooks reports, via Twitter , that Thrashers' general manager Don Waddell's asking price for Kovalchuk is "absurd."

Many had speculated that if the Blueshirts were to conted for the dynamic Russian winger's services that Brandon Dubinsky would be part of the deal. But if Waddell had his way, Dubinsky would only be part of a package that included most of the Rangers' prospective youth.

Brooks says that Waddell asked Rangers' team president and general manager Glen Sather for a combination of either blueliner Marc Staal or standout rookie Michael Del Zotto and either forward Ryan Callahan or Dubinsky. In addition to the combination of current Rangers, Waddell sought either of the Rangers top American prospects, Chris Kreider or Derek Stepan and either Evgeny Grachev or the team's first-round choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

The Rangers would be paying all this for a player they most likely wouldn't be able to re-sign before July 1, when Kovalchuk becomes an unrestricted free agent. Today, reports surfaced that Kovalchuk declined a proposal from Waddell and the Thrashers that would be worth more than $101 million over 12 years.

There has been speculation that Kovalchuk would be given the money he desires, potentially far beyond the NHL maximum salary of $11 millon per year, from teams in the Kontinental Hockey League back in Russia.

There's no telling how much Waddell will be willing to budge on his initial request, but Sather has expressed no interest in dealing a number of the organization's top young talent for a rental of one of the league's most exceptional skaters.