From the comments posted during the past few days, it looks as though most of us agree that Thrasherville A.K. (After Kovalchuk) is not as bad a place to reside as some had feared. In fact…life after Kovy isn’t so bad at all.
However, there have been some who have asked me, e-mailed me, texted and phoned me about the possibility of a Kovy-Thrashers reunion this summer. You tell me the organ-I-zation has the cap space…you remind me that Kovalchuk still has a home in here…you insist that it is still possible, still feasible that Ilya could be persuaded to “come home”. You’re still thinking about…chatting about…hoping for…wishing for…a possible Ilya Kovalchuk return.
And so, it is time we had a little intervention…a “come to Jee-zus meeting”, as it were.
OK, now that I have your attention, let me introduce a new word into your vocabulary…
Let’s look at this matter from two different angles…logic and emotion.
First, logic… logic that takes the form of dollars and cents.
I take you back to last summer when I opined that the Thrashers would probably allocate any increase in Kovy’s salary by simply moving the departing Slava Kozlov’s $3.6 million over to Ilya’s column. The combined salaries would equate to roughly the $10 million they offered to pay him over three, five or seven seasons. This way, they didn’t have to shuffle around other funds to pay for Kovy’s increase.
However, Kovy said “nyet” and was then shipped off to skate in the swamplands of New Jersey. As a product of that transaction, we now have Johnny Oduya’s $3 million to account for as well as whatever the team and Nic Bergfors settle on in order to re-ink that pending RFA. Last season he made just over $800,000 and I think the kid played well enough to expect some sort of raise, don’t you?
So as you can see, the money set aside for Kovalchuk’s “raise” has been reapportioned elsewhere…(for those of you from Hall County, that means, “The money done all been spent”).
Taking the monetary matter a little further… if you look at where the organization is right now in regards to players signed for next season, it is true that they have a great deal of cap-space to work with and, theoretically, they are one of the few teams that could actually handle a contract the size of which Ilya will again seek to obtain.
Those roster players currently with a contract for the 2010-11 campaign are Antropov, Kane, White, Reasoner, Thorburn, Peverley, Hainsey, Enstrom, Oduya, Bogosian and Valabik. Combined they have the Thrashers at a little over $28 million in cap.
So, that still leaves them with a lot of money to spend…right?
But do you also want to bring back Afinogenov…maybe even Kubina? How about Little, Slater, Bergie and Artyukhin…maybe even Armstrong if the price is right? Well if so… and if they came back at just their same salaries as last year… that alone would add another $12 mil or so to the budget, bringing it to about $40 mil.
But I’m gonna bet that players like Max, Slater, Little and Bergfors will be looking for some love via a salary bump…so maybe the number required to keep them is more like $15 or $16 million at a minimum. It probably could be higher, but I’m trying to keep this simple.
Now you are sitting close to the $44 million range. But we haven’t even begun to chat about paying a goalie or two…and last I checked, those are really good to have around on a hockey team.
Between Pavelec and Hedberg last season, the Thrashers spent a cool two and a half mil. So if you bring back Moose and Pavs, something Rick Dudley has stated he’s comfortable with, chances are good that right at about $3 mil minimum will be going out the door to pay for that goalie tandem…bringing the total to around the $47 million mark.
At this point, what you have on your team are two goalies, six defenders and twelve forwards. You still need to deal with a seventh blueliner, (maybe Pops or Schubie) and another couple forwards to give you some healthy scratches, (Boulton or MacArthur types)…and this doesn’t even bring in to the discussion what to do with the likes of Arturs Kulda, Spencer Machacek, etc.
So let’s say Dudley is thrifty enough to round out the remaining roster spending just another $3 million or so. That would mean the total is now closing in on $50 million.
And for that price, you pretty much get the same team that went 11-11-5 after Kovy was sent off to chase Lord Stanley’s Cup dressed up as a Devil. No upgrades.
I don’t know about you…but I want an upgrade or two.
Personally, what I would rather see Dudley do with that cash is try to bring in a quality starter between the pipes…one that can handle the load for another year or so before handing the job off to Opie full time. Also, a winger to replace Kozlov in the lineup would do the trick nicely too.
Regardless, I just don’t see how Kovalchuk’s desired salary can fit back in the system as far as the accounting department is concerned, even if he would entertain the notion of returning here.
Would you like to see Kovy back as a Thrasher?
Total Voters: 198
And that brings us to the emotion aspect of why I don’t care to see it happen…even if the funds were made available. And the only way I can explain this is with the following analogy.
Ladies, please forgive me as this really is directed toward those in our midst who are of the male persuasion
I’m sure all of us have in our past that one girlfriend that could be classified as “high maintenance”. She was stunningly beautiful and equally as fun to be with. But this chick demanded attention 24/7…and we dropped much coin to keep this young gal happy and well attended.
Yeah…you remember her now, don’t you?
Anyway…something happened and the relationship went Tango Uniform. It could have been caused by any number of things really…you said the wrong thing…you didn’t say the right thing…you forgot her poodle’s birthday…you failed to remember the 7th month anniversary of the first time she allowed you to buy her a piece of jewelry…possibly you just ran out of money.
Maybe, after you’d searched the world over and thought you’d found true love, she met another and …pttthhh…she was gone.
But then, after a few months of time healing the wound, a buddy of yours informs you he’d run into [insert name of high-maintenance ex here] and she had asked about you…she seemed to miss ya, he says. He suggests that you call her up and seeing if the ‘ol flame could be re-kindled…wink-wink-nod-nod.
Now just after the painful breakup, you would have jumped on this chance as hard and fast as Rosie O’Donnell would an open buffet. But now…well, time has passed, you’ve met another cutie pie that is just as much fun to be with… if not more so…and money has somehow found a way to remain in your bank account. Spending time with her didn’t necessarily mean having to spend a pant-load of money on her…at least not every night.
That, plus everything in your little world didn’t have to revolve around whether or not what you did or didn’t do meant losing or keeping her. It was more an “us” thing…not just “her”. And besides…where did you really go in life with her around anyway?
So you thought about it, then handed over to your buddy the ex’s number and told him she likes red roses, dark chocolate, diamond bracelets, fancy cars, five-star restaurants, rock concerts and orchestra level seats at the opera…telling him to have a blast while the money holds out.
Yup, back then you realized that you were a better person without her and it just made no sense at all to go down that road again. You’d discovered that life after [insert name of high-maintenance ex here] not only wasn’t so bad at all…it was actually better.
Today…you can insert Ilya Kovalchuk in those brackets.