Friday, January 29, 2010

Kovalchuk Talk Part II

With the second-line clicking; I can't help but imagine pairing Kopitar with a real sniper on his left wing.  If Atlanta allows teams to begin negotiating an extension with Kovalchuk; the Kings need to do everything they can to acquire him.  The Kings are in a position to be 'buyers' according to Dean Lombardi.

"I think I can safely say we are actively trying to improve this team. For the first time as a general manager you kind of get excited," Lombardi said.
Kevin Allen provides a rundown of at what to look for and expect once the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes begins.

Everyone's got their own ideas of what it will take to acquire Ilya.  ESPN's John Buccigross came up with 29 proposals.

Kovalchuk for Jonathan Bernier, Alexander Frolov, Oscar Moller and a first-round pick
The Kings covet a star to put on billboards, plus they have some cap space, some good young prospects and Frolov, who clearly needs a change of scenery. Frolov also is playing for a contract, and the Thrashers could benefit from that drive. Plus, if he plays well and doesn't ask for too much money, the Thrashers could re-sign him.
I don't mind this proposal but I think Atlanta would prefer a defenseman to a goaltender.  I also think the Kings have been patient enough with Bernier that it'd be tough to include him in any deal.

-  Bernier is a franchise goaltender but I'm not sure Atlanta's interested anyways.  The Thrashers have two solid options in Ondrej Pavelec and Kari Lehtonen.  Pavelec started off the year hot but his play has tailed off of late.  Lehtonen, the 2nd overall pick in 2002, has struggled with injuries his entire career but still has the potential to be a franchise netminder.  Both Pavelec and Lehtonen are RFA's at the end of the season.
-  Frolov.  I love his game and accept him for what he is.  I'd want to see him paired with Kovy but fair enough.
-  Moller's upside is terrific.  He's a top-6 forward and could pair with Evander Kane to form a lethal 1-2 center combination for Atlanta.
-  First-round pick?  Not sure Dean would ever trade a first-rounder.

The next proposal comes from my favorite fantasy hockeysite on the web:  Staff contributor Jeff Angus came up with five proposals from each rumored team.

The offer. Jack Johnson, Alexander Frolov (with extension), and Jarrett Stoll.
GM Dean Lombardi wants to put his stamp on this team, and acquiring Kovalchuk would definitely do that. Los Angeles wants to ship out Alex Frolov, and Atlanta may be interested in his services. Playing in Los Angeles may be an attractive proposition for Kovalchuk as well.
I take this deal and run.  Although, I think Atlanta would probably want picks included as well.

-  The Thrashers would love to add JJ their young blueline.  JJ, Bogosian, Enstrom and Valabik form a pretty solid top-four going forward.  The Kings are deep enough with blue-chip prospects Hickey, Teubert and Voynov that losing JJ wouldn't cripple their blueline.
-  An extended Frolov playing on a line with Antropov and Afinogenov isn't so bad.
-  Jarrett Stoll.  Interesting.  I really love Stoll's game this year: gritty, great point shot and key on faceoffs.  Dealing Stoll means the Kings would need to promote Zeus or Moller into the second-line center; not sure if the Kings would be too keen with either options.  But for an extended Kovalchuk; it's a small issue to deal with.

This post wouldn't be complete without a Kovalchuk Top 10 Goals Video.  Enjoy.  I wonder what # Kovy will wear in LA?...

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