The trade details break down like this, Illya Kovakchuk and Anssi Salmela for Johnny Oduya (Defenseman), Niclas Bergfors (Forward) and prospect Patrice Cormier (Forward and the Devils first round pick last year) along with a 1st round pick in this years draft. At first glance I was pretty upset with the trade considering we just traded away the franchise all time scorer and the teams main offensive piece for a couple of no named guys, a prospect and a draft pick. But after I have had time to think about it, it might not be so bad. The money we would have paid Kovy would have handcuffed the Thrashers. He was going to be the highest paid player in NHL history if he took any of the top deals laid out for him. So with that money still within the organization, we should be able to sign a couple of big time free agents in the off season. Add those free agents to the strong up and coming players we have now and are in the system, we could be on the right track. But I don’t have a lot of faith in GM Don Waddell that is how things will play out. He has traded away so many good players for much weaker players in the past under the pretense that he was building for the future and we now where that has gotten us! Just look at some of the names that Waddell has traded away; Ray Ferraro, Donald Audette, Danny Heatly, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa, Garnett Exelby, and now Illya Kovalchuk.
There is a chance this can work out good for the Atlanta Thrashers and their fans, but if we have learned anything about the past, we know it is going to fail just like the other plans. There might be a chance we could get Kovy back in the off season. Once he is an unrestricted free agent, he will find that there aren’t going to be a lot of teams willing to play what he is asking for. With him turning down the Thrashers offers, he has shown the NHL that is he very greedy and only wants to be the highest paid player ever. So, he is going to have a hard time getting offers better than he already had. So therefore, he might come back to the Thrashers saying he will take the 10 year 101 million dollar deal. I am not counting on that, but who knows?
I can’t totally blame Waddell and the Thrashers for this but it should have never come down to this in the first place. We should have signed Kovy to an extension right after we made the playoffs three years ago and this would have never happened. But at that time, the management wasn’t concerned and felt like Kovy would never leave. Now he is gone and we are stuck with a team that can’t seem to generate any offense, even when we had Kovy. There are two things that could happen with the team for the remainder of the season. They could rally and play well enough to make the playoffs in spite of losing the best player on the team, or they could pack it in and limp to the end of the season. Of course I hope it is the first option, but knowing the history of the team and the franchise, I think it will be the second one!
There is no time to sit around and feel sorry for themselves; the Thrashers have to go to Washington tonight to play the Conference leading Capitals. This will be the first clue on how the team is going to react to the face of the franchise getting traded away for basically nothing. Even though I am still frustrated with what has happened to my beloved Thrashers, I still will watch the game tonight. But if it is another blowout, it just might be my last game I watch until next season.
Thanks Kovy for your efforts in building this franchise!