Bruce Garrioch writes that the chatter among the NHL execs is that the Thrashers are shopping him.
Multiple NHL sources told Sun Media yesterday that Thrashers GM Don Waddell has held serious talks with several teams about the possibility of moving the high-scoring winger, who makes $7.5 million (all terms US) and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Trading the 25-year-old Kovalchuk would be a difficult move for Waddell to make, but with the Thrashers sitting dead last in the NHL, there's no doubt Atlanta would be able to acquire a package of players and draft picks that would help the team get back on track.
The logic of the last sentence needs to be spelled out though. Garrioch seems to think that trading Kovalchuk would help the Thrashers this year, but in reality any team that wants to pay the high price to get him isn't going to want to give up important roster players. So you likely take back prospects and picks in return. That should be the way forward anyway, because it's not very likely that the Thrashers turn it around and get into the playoffs this year. Mathematically possible, sure, but in reality not likely.