On February 4th, 2010 the unthinkable happened for fans of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team, they lost their Captain and star player, Ilya Kovalchuk.
From the time he was drafted in 2001 until now, Kovalchuk has been the NHL's leading scorer with 338 and 304 assists for 642 points in 621 games.
Impressive numbers to say the least.
He has never been a pushover either, and although he has taken several stupid and selfish penalties in his professional career, a lot of his 437 penalty minutes were more a result of the edge that always goes along with his scoring touch.
The driving force behind Atlanta GM Wadells' decision to trade him was the inability to get a deal done for the now 27-year-old sniper.
Kovalchuks, perhaps unreasonable, demanded to be paid the league's maximum 20 percent of the team's overall salary cap simply couldn't be met by any organization—much less by one that has only been to the post season once and hasn't won a playoff game in its history.
Though it's hard to argue with his numbers, unless he realizes that his demands are unrealistic, it is likely that Kovalchuk will not play in the NHL next year.
If the projected salary cap for the coming season remains at $56.8 million, he would be demanding a salary in the neighborhood of $11.36 million.
While there are a few clubs with that much space left under the cap, there isn't one team in the league that doesn't have at least three players to sign just to put a full roster on the ice come October.
The Anaheim Ducks are probably the only team—based on their number of roster spots still open (five) and their available cap space ($19.5 million)—who could make a serious play for Kovalchuk.
There is always a way to get what you want, but in this case, Ilya Kovalchuk may wind up on the outside looking in, at least for next season.