Kovalchuk for Malkin? Why It Makes Sense

Todd CordellCorrespondent IMay 18, 2010

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

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.