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Obviously, Ilya Kovalchuk is the star in Thursday night’s big trade, but he’s not the only lucky new resident of the Garden State.
Also moving from Atlanta to New Jersey is Anssi Salmela, a young Finnish defenseman who the Devils were quite fond of before they traded him for Niclas Havelid last March. The Devils also receive Atlanta’s second round pick this season.
Heading south to Atlanta for Kovalchuk, Salmela and the pick are defenseman Johnny Oduya, winger Nicklas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and New Jersey’s first and second round picks this season.
Salmela won’t replace Oduya on the Devils blueline, but he does have the potential to be a second pairing defenseman in the NHL.
Cormier is a bit of a wild child, best known for his recent season-long suspension from the QMJHL following an elbow he delivered to the head of an opponent. Bergfors is a young forward who has a lot of potential as well and is already an NHL player at age 22.
To New Jersey:, , Atlanta's 2010 2nd round pick
To Atlanta:, Niklas Bergfors, , New Jersey's 2010 1st and 2nd round picks
With details of the Kovalchuk trade to New Jersey becoming clearer and the initial fervor dying down, SB Nation's blogs have posted their initial reactions to the biggest trade of the 2010 season.
The New Jersey Devils won the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes, but the return seems to be smaller than what most people expected, especially when the scuttlebutt had a bidding war that would eclipse the Marian Hossa deal (if you recall, that trade included hard working Colby Armstrong, hit-and-miss Erik Christensen, former first founder Angelo Esposito before he blew out his knee, and a 1st round pick).
In this case, the Devils gave up Johnny Oduya -- a reliable defenseman who could munch 18-20 minutes a night but would never be a 40-point guy -- along with rookie Niclas Bergfors, who is having a good, though not spectacular, campaign, prospect Patrice Cormier, and a first round pick..
The a key component to the deal, outside of the 1st-rounder pick, is Patrice Cormier. Even if you don't know prospects, you've probably heard of Cormier as he was involved with an elbow play that led him to a season-long suspension. Outside of that, Cormier was captain of the 2010 Canadian World Junior squad. Gritty and physical, Cormier isn't the most gifted when it comes to his hands, but he can still put the puck in the net.
Devil's blog In Lou We Trust is a bit giddy:
Oh, man, oh man, oh man oh man. Combined with the fact that Gulitti reported that Patrik Elias was back practicing (no, he won't play tomorrow, according to Lemaire), I'm getting all kinds of crazy ideas on how to use Kovalchuk. Do you pair him on the right side with Parise and Zajac? Do you keep him on the left side and rock Elias at center and Rolston on the other wing? Does the power play now go to five forwards?
Basically, the Devils just traded a talented defenseman who has been underperforming after signing his big contract with the team in the past summer (Oduya), a rookie forward who has hit the wall in the worst way and hasn't been able to get back on track in over a month (Bergfors), a prospect center who's been suspended for elbowing a player in the face and had upside of a two-way center to begin with (Cormier), and a first round pick that will be late anyway. All this for one of the best pure snipers in hockey.
Finally, Bird Watcher's Anonymous looks at the effect of the trade on the Thrashers:
Adding Oduya at defense suggests to me that Kubina will not be re-signed. Thrashers top four next year would be Enstrom-Oduya, Bogosian and Hainsey. Departure of Salmela opens a roster spot for Arturs Kulda who leads the entire AHL in plus/minus. Valabik and Kulda as the 3rd pairing. (Schubert and Popovic are UFA)
Waddell said he expects Cormier to compete for a NHL job next year. Both Slater and Boulton are UFA this summer, perhaps some turnover there.
The departure of UFA Kubina,Afinogenov, Armstrong and Kozlov means that $14 million comes off the books in cap space. The Oduya + Bergfors combo will probably makes $2 million less than Kovy+Salmela. So the Thrashers will have $16 million in cap dollars freed up. The UFA market is rather weak, but Chicago Blackhawks will need to clear $9 million of their books just to squeeze under the cap so there will be some salaries moved via trade.
Contrary to prior reports Patrice Cormier has been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers, not Mattias Tedenby.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie has confirmed the return, with Cormier included in the package.
What’s interesting about the trade is that Lou Lamoriello recently stood up for the Devils prospect after he was suspended for elbowing an opponent in a Canadian Juniors hockey game. The Devils G.M. stated that that the franchise stood behind Cormier, who was captain of Team Canada in the World Junior Championships.
Now, Cormier is an Atlanta Thrasher.
RDS is reporting that in exchange for Ilya Kovalchuk, the New Jersey Devils have sent Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Mattias Tedenby and a first round draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Fox Sports Ohio reported during the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets game that Ilya Kovalchuk has been traded to the New Jersey Devils.
Still waiting on the official announcement of the trade, and there are still no reports of who the Devils have traded in return.
Bob McKenzie of TSN is reporting Thursday night that Ilya Kovalchuk will be traded “tonight,” through Twitter. He is also saying that it won’t be the Rangers nor the Bruins. Rumors are coming out that the New Jersey Devils are the front runners.
Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell told forward Ilya Kovalchuk today that he will in fact be traded, although details of a potential trade are not yet known.
Thrashers general manager Don Waddell has told star player Ilya Kovalchuk that he will be traded. Waddell did so after practice today. His agent was then informed of the pending move. No timetable was given for a move.
Word has it that pictures of Kovalchuk around Atlanta's Phillips Arena are being taken down.
Tonight at 6 PM Eastern, you can join members of our Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous, as they discuss the Kovalchuk situation live on Internet radio.
Last night, TSN's Bob McKenzie denounced a rumor that Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk was on the verge of heading to the Los Angeles Kings in a trade. The rumor originated from a source close to SB Nation's Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous. It was picked up by our general hockey blog, From The Rink, which was credited by ESPN Insider as the source for the rumor.
I'm hearing some chatter that a deal between theand LA is very close. I'm not 100% on this, but I consider it strong enough to post for your information.
left wing Ilya Kovalchuck (sic), this year's top catch on the NHL's trade market, may be on his way to Hollywood. Sources are rumbling that a deal is nearly complete that would send Atlanta's franchise player to the . There are currently no details on what the Thrashers would receive in return for one of the NHL's top snipers.
McKenzie then went on to post several messages on Twitter denouncing the rumor, stating that it was 'amateur hour,' among other things. You can view those messages individually here (one, two, and three).
Here they are combined for consumption:
You know what I think of these rumors of the LAK on verge of getting Kovalchuk? Total BS. Some interest but fit isn't right at this point. Will spend more time on bogus reports than actual trades. It's the silly season. Amateur hour. Like New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day. :) Now, if Kovalchuk goes to LA everyone will say it was good scoop. Telling u, at this time, there's no merit. Take it for what it's worth.
Bird Watchers Anonymous fired back this morning saying that while they don't make habit of turning their site into a rumor mill, they had 'reason to believe it might be true' and that it was heard from 'someone who was in a position to know or at least hear things' so they 'chose to put it out there for public consumption.'
After mentioning how much respect they have for McKenzie as a journalist (and McKenzie is one of the most respected men in the business), BWA continued with this:
It is true that I published this rumor in the hope of getting ahead of everyone else. Over the years I've known some delicious scoops about the Thrashers but was told things on the condition that I could not publicize them--which can be extremely frustrating. This particular rumor came with no strings attached and so I shared it. I suspect every aspiring journalist dreams of breaking a big story--probably even a young Bob McKenzie had such dreams. Every hard-working reporter wants to get the scoop--and I can't help but wonder whether it is more galling to be scooped by a blogger? Lots of people publish trade rumors that don't come true--do they all receive the "amateur hour" dig?
The rumor mill quickly shut down after McKenzie effectively brought the clamp down last night, but that may have been premature, according to BWA.
If you read McKenzie's statement very carefully he doesn't say "I can confirm that the rumor is BS" or "people close to LA say it is BS." Instead he wrote "You know what I think of these rumors. Total BS"--which is something less than ironclad. Many people have assumed that McKenize (sic) contacted the Thrashers or Kings to disprove the rumor, but that is not his claim. His retort appears to be based on his opinion: "Some interest but fit isn't right at this point". Now perhaps I'm parsing this too closely and McKenzie really did talk to someone with the Kings or Thrashers but a literal reading of his comment does not indicate such is the case. At this point I'm not throwing in the towel on this particular rumor just yet, we will have to just wait and see what happens next.
They go on to make several more observations, stating that coverage of the Thrashers is 'often remarkably thin' and that it's not uncommon for him to know information, as a fan of the club and someone effectively in the working media (albeit not full time), before beat writers are privy to that same information.
Perhaps the most important observation, though, is that the Thrashers need to control the story from a public relations standpoint. In a market that is already struggling, trading away the face of the franchise could have seriously negative effects. Is it possible that McKenzie could've reached out to the Thrashers to confirm the rumor and the team quickly denounced it because they just didn't want the rumor to get out yet?
Here's BWA again:
The Thrashers have an organizational interest in controlling this story and how the news is presented to fans. Don Waddell is not obligated to keep fans abrest of every development. His obligation is to get the best possible deal for his franchise. If getting the best possible deal involves issuing "contradictory" or even misleading statements that is the way the game is played. Case in point theswore that they were not trading Dion Phaneuf--only to turn around and trade Phaneuf to Toronto. Heck, maybe this rumor was intentionally planted by Don Waddell to try and scare a rival team into upping their bid for Kovalchuk. The NHL is a cut throat hyper-competitive business every GM is seeking to beat the other GM--so you never know.
It's a possibility that this is a dead rumor. It's also possible that a member of the mainstream media didn't want to get scooped by a blogger. We could also be given the run-around right now by a Thrashers organization with a serious interest in controlling the consumption of this story.
The fact of the matter is that we simply don't know, but there is one thing we do know. Bird Watchers Anonymous is a blog that has respect in the community and respect in the Thrashers organization, and for them to be lumped in with the crowd would be a gigantic mistake.
With the trade deadline looming, the rumors and speculation start coming out of the woodwork. Our general site, From The Rink, is speculating that Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk is going to be heading to the Los Angeles Kings.
Sources are rumbling that a deal is nearly complete that would send Atlanta's franchise player to the Kings. There are currently no details on what the Thrashers would receive in return for one of the NHL's top snipers.
While it is still speculation, the smoke surrounding Kovalchuk has been starting as more and more people are hearing things and Don Waddell is shutting down any more comments surrounding the situation. In this case, where there is smoke, there has to be fire.