Breaking News: Ilya Kovalchuk Traded To the New Jersey Devils

Ryan PickardCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 14:  Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers against the Buffalo Sabres at Philips Arena on January 14, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin Allen of USA Today broke the news just a few minutes ago on his Twitter account. Atlanta Thrashers star right winger Ilya Kovalchuk has just been traded to the New Jersey Devils.

Details have yet to emerge as to what the Devils have to give up but the trade will be nothing but a huge help to a team who hasn't been known as a high scoring club. The Devils have been a defensive minded team for a while now which is what helped them win three Stanley Cups.

The Devils currently lead the Atlantic Division with 72 points. They lead just a point over the Pittsburgh Penguins but the Pens have two games in hand on New Jersey. The Devils have looked good for the most part of this year. The one area they have struggled is goal scoring.

The Devils are currently 21 in the league in goals averaging 2.54 a game. Kovalchuk will immediately boost their goal average and may have been the key missing to make the Devils a Stanely Cup contender.

Kovalchuk who has led the Thrashers in scoring five of his seven seasons in Atlanta is only 26 and still has plenty of good years of hockey left in him. The question though is whether or not the Devils will be able to resign Kovalchuk at the end of the  year.

He is looking for at least $ 12 million and the Devils would have to give up some good players if they want to clear up cap space to resign him. None the less the Devils seemed to have come in out of nowhere and snatched up Kovalchuk.

The Eastern Conference playoff picture has certainly been changed as the Devils look like a team that not many would be able to beat in a seven game series.

More to come as the details continue to come in. Stay tuned.

More details have just been released. The Devils have given up defensemen Johnny Oduya, Nicklas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier, and a first round pick. The Devils also received Anssi Salmela from Atlanta along with Kovalchuk.

Update: The two teams have also agreed to trade second round picks in this years upcoming NHL Entry Draft.