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This last slide is a case where a team was actually better off letting a player get away.
Ilya Kovalchuk is a great sniper. But he was demanding Alex Ovechkin money, so Atlanta traded him to the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 4, picking up a serviceable defenseman (Johnny Oduya), a good rookie forward (Niclas Bergfors) and a talented prospect in Patrice Cormier, as well as a first-round pick.
New Jersey on the other hand was bounced from the first round of the playoffs (again). And then the Devils proceeded to bore the rest of the hockey world with the Kovalchuk contract saga.
Eventually Kovalchuk was signed, the Devils were fined for violating the CBA, and all was well.
Except that due to salary cap problems caused by his new contract, Kovalchuk has a lot of space on the bench to himself, because the Devils can't dress a full lineup (And the Devils are looking at more fines/sanctions from the NHL for violating the CBA).
Kovalchuk has three goals and three assists in nine games, is the proud owner of a minus-four rating, and has been a healthy scratch.
The Thrashers are 10th in the East and rebuilding nicely, the Devils are 15th and spinning their wheels. In this case, the Thrashers won by getting rid of Kovalchuk.
*The LA Kings were also involved in the Kovalchuk saga as his other UFA suitor, and they walked away from his contract demands. The Kings are the top team in the NHL standings, so maybe they won by letting him go too.