Ilya Kovalchuk a Maple Leaf?

Steve TerryAnalyst IJuly 11, 2008

Remember when the Leafs had a goal scorer that reached 50 goals in a season? Of course not. In the last few decades, Toronto has not had a player that would stand out in the scoring race.

Mats Sundin has been the best player on the Leafs for the last 15 years. At the same time, Sundin has never scored more than 50 goals in a single season in his entire career. Don't get me wrong, he has been Captain Toronto and has carried the Maple Leafs when they had nothing going for them.

But the last player I can remember that really impacted the Leafs in scoring was Dave Andreychuk. He scored 53 goals for the Leafs in the '93-'94 season. It's been a long time since we have seen that in Toronto.

So what does this have to do with Iyla Kovalchuk? Everything!

Iyla will be approaching free agency in the near future. The Atlanta Thrashers know that he will want to sign for big bucks. He also would like to play for a market where he will get the attention he deserves.

Atlanta has expressed interest in Bryan McCabe in the past and even considered trading Iyla for Bryan. Needless to say that deal never happened. So what would stop the Leafs from going for Iyla again?

Sweeten the deal by adding one of our over-abundant, talented defensemen, such as Carlo Colaiacovo or Ian White, if not both, and add Nik Antropov to the mix and there just might be a deal.

Nik Antropov has just come off a good season and his value has never been higher. It's now or never to deal him, if he is to be dealt someday.

Iyla Kovalchuk would be very worth the price. He is the first Russian player to be drafted first overall. He has scored 50 goals in one season twice. Iyla is just loaded with talent and skill.

The Maple Leafs would be very wise to trade for his contract and try to sign him for at least an eight year contract. He is worth the investment.  Just look at his counter-part Alexander Ovechkin. He has about the same stats as Iyla has in his career apart from four years less experience.

Will the Maple Leafs consider making a move for Iyla Kovalchuk again in the near future? Hopefully they will not pass on this chance again.