Waddell not actively seeking Kovalchuk trade

Here is the item on Don Waddell’s response to my questions about the ongoing Ilya Kovalchuk contract talks and trade rumors.

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said Monday that he is not actively seeking to trade star Ilya Kovalchuk. However, a trade is a possibility should a new contract agreement not be reached.

Waddell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in May that he would unequivocally not trade Kovalchuk, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, even if contract talks reached an impasse.

“Our first priority still remains to sign him,” Waddell told the AJC Monday. “That’s clear. I probably didn’t leave the door open enough at the beginning of the year because, obviously, I was hoping that this would be long done by now. We also have to protect the asset. He’s an asset to our franchise. …

“[A trade] still looms as an option, but it’s not my first choice.”

Waddell said that both sides – the Thrashers and Kovalchuk and his agent Jay Grossman – have proposals on the table.

“We are at a difference of what the player should be paid,” Waddell said. “It has nothing to do with Kovy being a great player, being our franchise player. It has everything to do that we do this and still have room that we can continue to grow this franchise.”

The NHL trade deadline is March 3. No league transactions can be made during the two-week Olympic break, which begins Feb. 14.

Waddell also said there is an option to play out the season with Kovalchuk on the roster and attempt to re-sign him at a later date.

87 comments Add your comment


January 11th, 2010
5:27 pm


January 11th, 2010
5:34 pm

Not actively, meaning not unless teams call him and do the talking.

Kovy needs that higher salary to compensate for Grossman’s owed commission I see.

Waddell’s in a tough spot. Don’t blame him for trying to keep the cap hit down on a new deal, but he is still a fool and I hope he is replaced soon.


January 11th, 2010
5:35 pm

As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think Kovy is going to sign. Many felt this was the Thrashers’ best team and look at the results. That has to be disheartening to Kovy because I’m sure all he wants to do is win. I really hope I’m wrong but my gut tells me otherwise.

the fish

January 11th, 2010
5:35 pm

Know how to tell when Waddell is lying?? His lips move!!!! I’d bet anyone their lungs that Kovy is soooooo outta here; and before the trade deadline. Nice knowing you Ilya!!!!

[...] permalink Waddell not seeking trade for Kovalchuk | Atlanta Thrashers [...]


January 11th, 2010
5:35 pm

Ownership-SPIRIT boggles into:

SPIT-disrespect fans
PITS-no improvement
RIPS-season ticket holders
TRIPS-relocate to Canada-if they will take them.

No Kovy-No Thrashers-No Surprise.


January 11th, 2010
5:44 pm

has anyone considered mass emailing atlanta spirit requesting the firing of waddell. if we get a lot of people to do it, then maybe they will start to pay attention


January 11th, 2010
5:55 pm

Fire Waddell!!!

Mary Ann Hossa

January 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

Give KOVY his money you stupid idiots that are part of the ATL SPIRIT. DEAL WITH IT JERKS>


January 11th, 2010
6:01 pm

I was overly optimistic in November by thinking Kovy will Re-sign. Spoke with Jeff marak on Hockey Night in Canada Radio a few times and he almost assured me that Kovy would re-sign. If he was going to Re-sign, he would’ve done it July 1st, 2009. It’s obvious when a player wants to be here, he would’ve already done it at the beginning of the last year of his contract. Ovechkin, Crosby, Nash. They all signed long before free agency.


January 11th, 2010
6:03 pm

“We are at a difference of what the player should be paid,” Waddell said. “It has nothing to do with Kovy being a great player, being our franchise player. It has everything to do that we do this and still have room that we can continue to grow this franchise.”

In other words…Kovy wants the max and that would destroy the franchise.

Trade him today and lets move on!!!


January 11th, 2010
6:10 pm

To all the apologists boo hooing about pending loss of El Kapitan Ilya “Money Talks, Bullshet Skates Figure Eights” Kovalchuk: What the Hell is wrong with all of you? Are all of you completely nuts? Have none of you watched recent games? The Russian is in full Maryann Hossa giveup mode! The quitter has stopped caring. The supposed team leader is loitering at line awaiting breakout passes which will never come as rivals overrun the goaltender! The overrated bum misfires on more open shots than a mediocre player. Teammates always set him up for prime scoring opportunities which he chokes away! Miss him? Hell, I say good riddance to the heartless Siberian scumball. Captain? Captain my a$$! ++STENDEC++ Any chance of signing Cliff Fletcher? Pay him big chunk of salary freed up by long overdue departure of Mr Figure Eight. Just a thought.

Dan Vincelette

January 11th, 2010
6:22 pm

Kovy is out of here. Wouldn’t be surprised if Washington signs him(Kovy & Ovie show) Don the Wad will remain. Thrashed will last one more season and then totally collapse from lack of any fan support. Lost me a long time ago. Ten+ years and still at square one. Sorry to say but adieu.


January 11th, 2010
6:33 pm

Until the hockey “industry” — including the 7k or some odd fans at the game Saturday night — grows up and aknowledges that the game sucks in terms of mass appeal, it will be a niche sport. Only pond-bound Canucks and very rural Yanks could enjoy 60 minutes of of dump-and -chase mindlessness, followed by an all-too-infrequent pass to the crease. Boring!

Go to the overtime rules of 4 on 4 — but all of the time! Guys like Ovechkin and Kovy would score 3 or 4 goal PER GAME! Wow, the traditionalists would hate it but, guess what, a lot of folks might find hockey somewhat interesteing. Who wants to watch a bunch of skilled, fast and exciting athletes scrum on the boards vs. scoring goals. Please!

Let me add that the Thrashers organization is truly pathetic. Who can blame Kovy for being bored. I’m bored. I went Saturady night and, I’m serious, I think the Glads could have played the Caps better. This organization and its “minor league” coach are laughable.

Send the Thrashers to Manitoba or some other God-forsaken place. The organization sucks and so does the team. Until the NHL adopts a 4×4 system that interjects some speed and excitement into the game, go ahead and do the inevitable and gravitate this franchise to the Eskimos who don’t know real sports excitement!


January 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

I think it comes down to this, not contract money, “Kovy doesn’t BELIEVE that this organization can put together the kind of managerial and scout talent assessment and financial commitment necessary to truly win the Stanley Cup.”

It’s like dating someone TERRIFIC, then discovering they have a very, very serious gambling addiction, that will one day leave you pennyless and out on the street, if you marry them and attempt to make a life together. So, you have to walk away, to preserve the quality of your own life for the future. I think that’s how Kovy sees the AS, LLC’s reign over the Thrashers. He can’t SIGN UP for failure, being trapped in a worthless and destructive marriage. No matter how much he might like the City of Atlanta, its hockey fans, his home, or Don Waddell, personally.


January 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

My beloved ailing wife is a wonderful woman who does not know a hockey blue line from a clothesline. She does know and love UGA football! The other night she inquired why I was overly loud while watching television. I told her I had the hockey game on. What is the score? I replied it was 6-1. If it makes you so upset why do you watch? I viewed the remainder of the beatdown in silence! ++STENDEC++ The wise Mrs Stendec.


January 11th, 2010
6:50 pm

Trade him, he is bringing down the team. We could get some people in here that actually want to play hockey.


January 11th, 2010
7:00 pm

Hockey is a beautiful graceful game. My top three spectator sports are football, hockey and professional wrestling (I know, I know). Watching dozens of free throws in the closing minutes of a basketball game is no fun! Baseball is so slow that terrapins are impatient with the pace of the sport. The world sport of soccer is dead in the United States! Boring with a capital B except for shootouts which determine outcomes. Most games end in boring scoreless draws! Look for USA to make another quick World Cup exit. Heartless bestards! Thrashers who play hockey with grace are, uh, oh, well, Hell, none of them do. Except for perhaps my personal hero Moose Hedberg. Goalie or not! ++STENDEC++


January 11th, 2010
7:29 pm

YoMama-you must blind, cause there were WAY more than 7000 fans at that butt kicking on Sat. night. There are fans here and they WILL support a competently run franchise. The sad part is that it may be too late due to the sorry state, and soon to be sorrier state of this team when Kovy leaves or is traded. Heatley-gone, Savard-gone, Hossa-gone, Kovy-going, going…..


January 11th, 2010
7:41 pm

Signing Kovy to a max deal would kill the franchise???? Are you kidding me???? The franchise does not exist. I don’t blame Kovy one bit. The Don won’t do anything with that extra mil. anyway. Kovy just figures if he is going to be on a losing team he should get paid for it. What…. the team not gonna make the playoffs with him getting max money???? Oh yeah they won’t make the playoffs with him NOT making max money.

He is by no means a complete player and definitely takes D for granted, but we already knew all this. He can be a scoring machine at times and certainly is the only player (other than Pevs and Kane) worth watching. No Kovy no franchise. Because your not gonna get a good enough return for what you give up especially with the Don in control.

Count Von Count

January 11th, 2010
7:50 pm

One, one stupid idea from Darren, ah, ah ah!!

Get The Puck Out

January 11th, 2010
8:01 pm

I don’t know how to link it, but go to the hockey news and check out the story on Kovy and Waddell. Priceless.

Steve Brown

January 11th, 2010
8:02 pm

The Thrasher fantasy goes on and on and on! Notice how Joe Johnson isn’t performing as the free agent pressure progressively mounts and plays with his sub-conscience. The whole Thrasher team has the same problem as the Kovy clock ticks down. On and on and on!


January 11th, 2010
8:03 pm

I guess we are being prepared for a trade or DW is calling out the agent….


January 11th, 2010
8:16 pm

Stendec…I couldn’t agree with you more about Kapt Kovy just skating around in figure eights. He is the most pathetic excuse for a captain that I have ever seen. He is in the Hossa-can’t-wait-to-get-out-of-here mode. This is EXACTLY how Hossa’s last season is playing out. Kovy is pulling down the ENTIRE team!!! Trade the piece of $h*t NOW!!!! I became an ex-STH when D-Wads couldn’t sign Hossa to an extension (and that was after he let Savard walk away!!) If the Kings want him for Frolov or Stoll and a d-man like O’Donnell or Drewiske, TRADE HIM. The Thrashers should throw in White and/or Hainsey for a 1st or 2nd round pick, as well.


January 11th, 2010
8:31 pm

Any talk fom the top of putting a few guys down to Chicago for a stint as a wake up and throwing a few fresh faces out? We need a wake up call and if ownership won’t change coaches, then maybe coach should grow a set and take control of the tailspin. Just a thought, and reply?


January 11th, 2010
8:34 pm

Any chance a few unproductives can be sent to Chicago as a wake up, throw a few new faces into the arena and shake thing up? I’m thinking Little White and Armstrong are all valid candidates. And why has Armstrong seen time penalty killing? His antics on the PK have directly led to several odd man rushes and goals instead of patiently waiting the right time.


January 11th, 2010
8:57 pm

I smell leftover meatloaf!


January 11th, 2010
8:59 pm

Get rid of Kovy. I saw him dawdle enough. He doesnt care anymore , face it its over. 2 more years and no NHL in the ATL. Too bad the IHL is gone. The Knights were a 1st class operation that this bunch of miscreants cant come close to.


January 11th, 2010
9:00 pm

I have been a season ticket holder since day 1–the only thing we can count on is that Waddell and the brain dead owners will make the wrong decision. any day now we will see the announcement that we got 3 third liners for Kovy. The franchise is done and I won’t renew.

PS–he may not be a great defender but nobody hustles more than Kovy-

Goober Peas

January 11th, 2010
9:16 pm

Send that Commie back to the USSR


January 11th, 2010
9:32 pm

We can’t make the playoffs with him, lets make some changes…


January 11th, 2010
9:41 pm

Man, Waddell is full of crap. Not actively trying to trade Kovy. What this really means is he is placing one call a day. If he was actively trying to trade him he would place 2 calls a day. If they can’t get this done then he has to trade him. If he is worried about Kovy in a new city all alone he should go with him. Make sure you stay DW. You lose 8-1 and someone needs to be traded or fired. I go with the second.


January 11th, 2010
9:54 pm

The Thrash should get what they can via trade for Kovy. Ownership will not put up the cash it will take so sign him or the supporting cast it would take to get him to agree to a contract less than the max.
The bad news is that we have to rely on Waddell to evaluate the incoming talent and make the deal. Maybe the Blues will trade us Tkachuk again.

road trip

January 11th, 2010
10:16 pm

Here is the article by Adam Proteau in The Hockey News

Time flies when you’re covering the hockey world. Why, it seems like just yesterday I was suggesting the Atlanta Thrashers get with the program and trade star winger (and 2010 unrestricted free agent) Ilya Kovalchuk before it was too late to get full value for his services.

Former Lightning GM and THN.com contributor Jay Feaster underscored that point last month when he wrote the Thrashers can’t afford to play a game of contractual chicken with the Russian star – at least, not up to and beyond the March 3 trade deadline – and the time to deal him is now.

As Feaster and I both noted, the opportune window to deal Kovalchuk has long since closed – and that’s why I believe the best Atlanta GM Don Waddell can hope for now is a deal that gets him 35-50 cents on the dollar. It won’t be Alexei-Zhitnik-for-Braydon-Coburn bad, but it’ll be close.

Some will make the argument the course Waddell chose was the only one he could have taken, that dealing Kovalchuk without exhausting every possible solution to keep him would have been akin to driving the final nail in the coffin for NHL hockey in Georgia.

Too bad the team’s spotty attendance patterns demonstrate the Russian never had the drawing power his talents teased at. As is the case in Phoenix, it seems fans in Atlanta are prepared to fork over money only to see a winning hockey team. And as is the case in Phoenix, the Thrashers simply haven’t given them many winning hockey teams.

The most damning aspect of Waddell’s role in the Kovalchuk soap opera is that the GM has been through it before and seems intent on making the same mistakes. Only a couple years ago, Marian Hossa was in precisely the same predicament, allowing his stalled contract talks with Waddell to speak louder than any press conference or whisper campaign ever could.

Each morning Hossa wasn’t re-signed to a long-term contract was an indicator to rival GMs the player wouldn’t be returning to Atlanta; and each morning they understood the asking price for the player would drop. The same holds true for Kovalchuk, who will say many lovely things about the city and organization as he quietly packs his bags and moves to an organization that isn’t still seeking its first playoff win after a decade of existence.

The final insult to Thrashers fans will come when Kovalchuk is traded by Waddell, a good hockey man who has run desert-dry of excuses and should’ve been replaced one or two years ago.

Unfortunately, the franchise’s still-festering ownership battle has allowed Waddell to stay in power. If he is permitted to retain that power once Kovalchuk departs, it will be impossible to blame any and all remaining Thrashers fans for abandoning ship as well.


January 11th, 2010
10:18 pm

Waddell has lost his marbles. He played the same game with Hossa and got burned. He is getting played again…this time by Kovy. This time, he may sink the franchise though. He should have traded him last season when he could have gotten max value in return for him because the team that got him would have 2 runs at the Cup with him. Now we will have to trade him as a rental and we won’t get anything close to a kings ransom that we would have last year. Waddell has no balls! Kovy won’t sign here. If he really wanted to be here, the deal would already be done. The offer from the Thrashers is probably very fair. Waddell is right for not paying him the premium he is reportedly asking for…which is more than Ovechkin makes and would give him the richest contract in the league….but he never should have let it play out this long. He has no leverage anymore. He is too nice. Not schrewd.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

January 11th, 2010
10:36 pm

I’ve heard the KHL is the front runner.

Michael B. Shapiro

January 11th, 2010
10:47 pm

Trade Waddell. Re-sign Kovalchuk. ‘nuf said.

Gwinnett Fred

January 11th, 2010
10:59 pm

Trade him straight up to the Rangers for Brashear. Then at least we’d have someone that could win a fight!


January 11th, 2010
11:03 pm

Behind the scenes, Waddell is shopping Kovy, period. Asking MAX contract is absolutely CRAZY, and we would be nuts if we gave it to him. All you people that want to throw logic into the wind to sign him just to “keep the face of the Thrashers here” are hockey morons. No other competitive team would give him that contract either! In a fantasy world, if you make every existing player available to draft on your team, Kovalchuk would not be drafted in the top 15 players!!!! So you want to pay him MAX money, just to save face and keep him here? He does’nt know what a back-check is, can’t hit, gets out of position all the time, and constantly loses the puck. Publicly put him on the block and consider all offers. Get us some hitters, some grinders, or a goalie.


January 12th, 2010
5:35 am



January 12th, 2010
6:20 am

Waddell is just setting up the inevitable….a trade…

Kovy would stay…Waddell is handcuffed by the dipstick ownership group…

Kovy will land (in order):


The last piece of the core that Waddell built 6 to 7 years ago will be gone….


January 12th, 2010
6:51 am

Well that doesn’t say much. It’s just saying that he’s hoping not to trade Kovy, and then he says he will if he needs to, uh, well, duh! Who wants to trade him? But you may have to! Jeez, what a stupid thing to say.


January 12th, 2010
6:55 am

“All the owners say, oh, we’re “rebuilding”. What the heck is that supposed to mean? They still expect people to go to the games while their “rebuilding”. I don’t want to go see “rebuilding” WIN NOW, then tell me when you’re good and I’ll go to the games.”


January 12th, 2010
6:55 am

Does this all mean Kinkaid was right when he said Kovy should have been traded last year?


January 12th, 2010
7:28 am

So I guess we are supposed to trade every good player we have before the season starts? By that standard we will never compete at all. Pretty stupid argument from Proteau. And keep this article in mind if Jay Feaster ever becomes a candidate for GM.


January 12th, 2010
8:32 am

I might be the only person who doesn’t think signing Kovy is a good idea? After watching him play against the Capitals on Saturday night does he deserve his $10 million dollars a year for a man who is not going to play any kind of defense?


January 12th, 2010
8:47 am

Who on this planet believes anything that Donnie Brilliance has to say? All he’s done is to pull out the same stuff that he tried to feed us as he futily tried to negotiate with Hossa and his agent. Same crap, same result. Kovy’s out of here to a big market team- Boston, Chicago or LA. My bet is the Blackhawks. We get two stiffs, a draft choice and the continuing title of “laughingstock of the NHL”. Donnie gets an extension and raise.


January 12th, 2010
9:02 am

Jimbo… Dudley will know what’s worth taking from Chicago, so I actually consider that a GOOD trade partner. Chicago needs to move salary.

Here’s a thought… not saying I want it, but we could get Brian Campbell for less than what we offered him last summer. That opens up the possibility of moving Kubina to San Jose (rumored to be interested).

The Real Thrash

January 12th, 2010
9:19 am

Anyone who says the Thrashers would be better off without Kovy is EXACTLY the reason the team will be leaving town. Good teams pay their best players. Good fans support their players when they’re right for asking what they’re worth. You don’t field a consistent winning team by constantly trading away their best players. Look around people!