Kaberle for Kovalchuk: A Deal Made in Heaven, or a Little Closer to Home?

Jack PorterCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2008

It seems that every season there is talk of at least one superstar being shopped around by his team. This year that player seems to be Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian sniper has been involved in much speculation this year, and the rumours have started to heat up.

The supposed interested teams are Edmonton, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Although talks haven't started at all yet, you have to think to yourself, what do the Oilers and Kings have to offer? In my opinion, not a whole lot. Then there is Montreal, who is in the hunt for Mats Sundin and has limited cap room.

So that leaves Toronto. I think Toronto has the assets to get this done—namely Tomas Kaberle.

Last season Kaberle refused to waive his no-trade, which would've seen Jeff Carter arrive in Toronto. This season is different: Kaberle has already said he will waive his no-trade clause if asked.

What would it take to get Ilya Kovalchuk? I think Atlanta will want a top player in return, thus Kaberle as part of the deal. Another area Atlanta is hurting in is goaltending. I believe they'd take the chance on Vesa Toskala, giving them the second player in the deal.

Atlanta also would want to improve an already promising class of prospects. So throw in Jiri Tlusty and goalie prospect James Reimer, and I think the deal is almost done.

Atlanta will not accept any deal that doesn't include a first round draft pick, so I say the Leafs offer a conditional first round choice—the condition being that if Toronto has a top five pick in the upcoming draft, then the Leafs keep the pick and Atlanta gets the 2010 first round pick.

Salary cap is always an issue in the new NHL, and I can tell you that this deal would fit under both teams' cap room.

So Kaberle, Toskala, Tlusty, Reimer, and a first round draft choice for Ilya Kovalchuk. That may be too much even for Kovalchuk, so I propose that Atlanta include defenseman Garnett Exelby and this is a done deal.

So my Christmas wish is that a deal is worked out that looks like this.


Toronto Maple Leafs trade:

Tomas Kaberle

Vesa Toskala

Jiri Tlusty

James Reimer

Conditional first round draft pick


To Atlanta Thrashers for:

Ilya Kovalchuk


Garnett Exelby