New Jersey Devils

Kovalchuk for Malkin? Why It Makes Sense

MONTREAL - JANUARY 24:  (L-R) Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the Eastern Conference All-Stars share a laugh during the McDonalds/NHL All-Star Open Practice during the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend on Jaunary 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Todd CordellCorrespondent IMay 18, 2010

Their are many rumors and possible trade options pitched out there all of the time, but this rumor has some bite.

 

To the Penguins:

A re-signed Ilya Kovalchuk (assuming he would re-sign if he knew he was getting traded to Pittsburgh)

 

To the Devils:

Evgeni Malkin

 

Over the past few years the Devils have not had a top line centre, some could argue that Zajac will be, or Elias is, but the Devils never have had a true top line centre, if this trade occurs you can forget about that.

Here are three reasons as to why Ilya Kovalchuk for Evgeni Malkin makes sense.

 

1. Devils Get a Top-Line Centre

If this trade happens the Devils would have a very strong, very skilled, play-making centre in Evgeni Malkin, who hits and is pretty responsible defensively. Malkin would be an instant upgrade over Travis Zajac, who would be a more-than-capable line two centre.

As for Elias, he could play on the wing. Just think, Devils fans, imagine Malkin feeding Parise stretch passes and cross ice tape-to-tape passes night in night out...that would be something.

 

2. Penguins Cut Salary

A key reason as to why the Penguins would trade Malkin for a locked up Kovalchuk is that Malkin make $8.1 million now and Kovalchuk would settle for about $7-7.5 million if he knew he would be playing for the Penguins and on a line with Crosby.

I know $600,000 doesn't seem like much, but if you offer, say unrestricted free agent (UFA) Colby Armstrong $2 million and he wants around $3 million he would probably settle for $2.6 million to sign with the Penguins.

 

3. Penguins Get a Top-Line Winger for Crosby

Ray Shero and the Penguins would get what they have been trying to get Crosby for years—a top-line winger. Ilya Kovalchuk would be an INSTANT upgrade over the likes of Chris Kunitz and Alexei Ponikarovsky and would light the lamp on a line with Sidney Crosby.

Also, since the Penguins are probably losing Gonchar, they could replace him with Ilya Kovalchuk—for the power play anyways. Kovalchuk has a lot of experience running the point on a power play as he did it in Atlanta for years and New Jersey for a couple of months.

All in all this trade would work for both teams. Parise on a line with Malkin would be a big upgrade for the Devils and Kovalchuk on a line with Crosby would be a big upgrade.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this so please feel free to comment.

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