Thrashers tell Kovalchuk he’ll be traded

kovieIlya Kovalchuk is about to become an ex-Thrasher.

Kovlachuk, the third “franchise” player the team has had, learned Wednesday he will follow in the steps of Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa. He was told by general manager Don Waddell after practice that he will be traded to a team that has yet to be determined. Kovalchuk then phoned agent Jay Grossman, who later was told the same thing by Waddell.

“It certainly appears to be the direction the club is moving in,” Grossman said by phone. “Ilya’s disappointed. But we appreciate the fact there they’ve been honest about what their plans are.”

The Thrashers’ next game is Friday night in Washington. It seems highly unlikely the team would want Kovalchuk to play in that game, knowing they are about to deal him. But as of early Wednesday evening, a trade had not yet been worked out and there has been a feeling around the league that Waddell has overplayed his hand in trade talks and has been asking for more compensation than teams are willing to part with.

The only teams likely to pursue Kovalchuk are playoff contenders but most have balked at taking a major player off their roster. Teams most often mentioned have been Los Angeles, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Calgary and Philadelphia.

Kovalchuk has been seeking the maximum allowed salary under the collective bargaining agreement, which is 20 percent of the salary cap, or roughly $11.3 million per season. Grossman confirmed that he has not come off that number and was asking for a “lifetime” contract in the 10-to-12-year range.

The Thrashers have offered multiple deals, none close to that range. Waddell has offered close to max money, $10 million a year, but only in shorter-term contracts (three, five or seven years). The Thrashers’ last offer on the table was for $101 million. But that spanned 12 seasons for an annual average of $8.42 million.

While some might consider Kovalchuk’s demands excessive, even Waddell has conceded there is no contract “comparable,” because no other player of his status ever has been on the verge of testing unrestricted free agency. The closest comparables are Columbus forward Rick Nash ($8 million per year for eight years), Carolina’s  Eric Staal, ($8 .25 million for seven years) and Tampa Bay’s Vinny Lecavalier ($9.71 million for eight years). In each of those cases, the player signed his contract extension the year before potential unrestricted free agency. The highest deal belongs to Lecavalier, who is three years older than Kovalchuk (26).

FOLKS, CLICK HERE TO READ HOW THRASHERS BLEW IT IN NEGOTIATIONS. LETS MOVE ALL COMMENTING OVER THERE. THANKS.

147 comments Add your comment

Huh

February 3rd, 2010
4:56 pm

We have a hockey team?

huh

February 3rd, 2010
4:58 pm

We have a hockey team? Is that why I’m reading an article on hockey? Guess I’ll go back to sniffing Matt Ryan’s jock strap…

Supes

February 3rd, 2010
4:59 pm

The final nail in the coffin, this team will be moved to Canada in the near future. That’s what happens when a team fails to put a winning product on the ice for almost 10 years (with one or two exceptions), and NO money is put into building a consistent competitive team to draw in the casual hockey fans. People like WINNERS in ATL. This ownership is the most inept ever for Hockey. The clock is now ticking.

Tee

February 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

Pack up the team and move them to Canada. Don Waddell strikes (out) again.

Supes

February 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

Oh, and to the casual hockey fans…this move is like Trading a 26 year old CHIPPER JONES, to put it in perspective. How is the JOKE that is DW going to “explain this away” is beyond me.

Buzz

February 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

He is a force of nature, but he is being unreasonable. The Thrashers can’t afford to pay one player … not even Kovalchuk … 20 percent of the cap.

Sadly, Kovalchuk deserved better than what the Thrashers could provide him. Look at our draft picks … only Kovalchuk and Heatly are bonafide stars. The other 100 are mostly garbage. A blind old lady could have drafted more wisely.

Supes

February 3rd, 2010
5:01 pm

Thrashers = CHEAP a&& ownership who only cares about Basketball.

Realist

February 3rd, 2010
5:01 pm

If you can’t keep one of the absolute top players in the NHL (three times), you can’t keep a team.

Supes

February 3rd, 2010
5:02 pm

Buzz, the Caps locked up Alexander the Great and avoided all of this mess…it’s called GOOD OWNERSHIP, they also payed him his money.

Thrashers have the WORST owners in the NHL.

Raider Fan

February 3rd, 2010
5:02 pm

Like I said in the last blog: Pete Yorn’s Lose You is a great song to listen to right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wabdSbowXQ

Steve

February 3rd, 2010
5:03 pm

How much does a guy need. Thrashers made a fair offer compared to the market. Bottom line is he didn’t want to be here. Waddell’s job now is to get an equal trade…and that scares the heck out of me!!

Hassan Bin Sober

February 3rd, 2010
5:04 pm

Cheer up…He was agood player a 1 way player….If we can get 2-3 good players whao can play 2 way hockey we win! And dont forget Kari is out also so we can build from there I like it!

Tee

February 3rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Why doesn’t Waddell just sell Kovy for cash? Waddell has proven every year that he cannot make a trade and anything decent in return. I don’t want to see another list of players coming to ATL who barely score 15 goals per season, a couple of AHL nobodies and draft picks that Waddell will just screw up when he drafts a player.
Waddell is FOOL. It is SAD that the fans of ATlanta get treated this way.
Can’t you just imagine what it would be like to still have Heatley, Kovy, Savard and healthy Kari in net. This town would be in Hockey Heaven. But what do we have to show for this? I can’t recall anything decent.
The players should be proud of what they have done — with such lack of leadership and support from WADS and Atl Spirit group.
Goodbye Thrashers, we loved you while you were here.

Russ

February 3rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Someone either came close to what DW was asking or he came down on what he was expecting because a deal has to be close. There is no way DW would tell Kovy he is going to be traded unless something is about finalized…even DW isn’t that dumb (I think).

PMC

February 3rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Can we trade Don Waddell for some Molson Ice and the ASG for… a box of cracker jacks?

Don Waddell has really acomplished virtually nothing of merit in 11 years yet he continues to draw a paycheck why? 1 playoff birth. 0-4 on that trip. Where are they now? Done by Feburary AGAIN this year. Just retract this team already… the ownership has proven that they don’t care about winning in the least.

Matt B.

February 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

This is pretty unfortunate and will likely end any chance of the THrashers staying in Atlanta long-term. I will be interested to see if Kovy can get a comparable deal to the reported $101M over 12 years. The cap is coming down next year (and probably for the two years following that) and giving him 20% of your cap space (that percentage will grow as the salary cap shrinks) pretty much guarantees that Kovy will not be surrounded by any depth of talent anywhere. The Sprit have been beyond inept, but if he will only accept a max offer for 10-12 years, then we may as well trade him, regardless of the ramifications. T

Steve

February 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

Freaking idiots think they are worth the same today as they were 2 years ago. They don’t understand what a friggin deep recession is. Adios Ilya. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

upnorth_thrasher

February 3rd, 2010
5:07 pm

Do not kid yourself, no hockey player deserves 11 million or 20% of the team cap. You can not build a winner that way. Kovie should have been happy with 9 million. After all he doesn’t backcheck. Jay Grossman gave Kovie the out he took it. I hope he ends in the KHL. There is not a team in the NHL that will pay he what he wants. Believe it or not, DW did the right thing, for the franchise and for hockey.

PMC

February 3rd, 2010
5:08 pm

Letting Don Waddell make another move is like buying a house on a credit card.

Nothing good comes of this man making decisions. Ever.

Richham

February 3rd, 2010
5:08 pm

You have to believe at this point that the brain trust that owns the team is hoping donny “doesn’t know a thing about hockey” will fail again and the nhl will be forced to broker a deal to move the team out of atlanta.

There is no sane or logical reason that DW still has his job. He will go down as one of the three worst GM’s in any sports history.

PMC

February 3rd, 2010
5:08 pm

I guarentee he signs with a better team for less money anyway.

Joe's place Joe speaking

February 3rd, 2010
5:10 pm

Hey Mr. Jeff Schultz what should we get in return for him??

Matt B.

February 3rd, 2010
5:10 pm

Tee – I’m not a Waddell defender , but to put a “dream” lineup that includes Heatley (abandoned all of us after we supported him) and a healthy Kari and say it is DW’s fault we didn’t have that is erroneous. He made enough other crappy moves to prove his inadequacy, but Heatley (who he traded for one of the other franchise players we have had) and Kari’s lack of core strength are not his.

Richham

February 3rd, 2010
5:12 pm

I agree though that Kovy will be extremely lucky to get $10 mil/year on the open market. He obviously wants to win rather than get paid absolute top dollar. He will get paid though. I just want to see how badly DW gets fleeced from some of his more competent colleagues.

thasher fan

February 3rd, 2010
5:15 pm

am fine with kovy leaving. just think waddell can’t make a deal worth anything. the team will do fine without kovy AND waddell. one is a very fine player; the other is very fine at being incompetent. and, bring back X

Hockey Stars Hate Atlanta

February 3rd, 2010
5:15 pm

I agree with PMC. Waddell is an idiot, no question. But Kovy just wants out of here and will sign for less money elsewhere. That is clear based on his agent’s insistence on a 10-12 year deal for max money. It is posturing, plain and simple, to get Kovy out of here and playing for a winner. And, who can blame him?

P. Bull Terrier

February 3rd, 2010
5:15 pm

“We have a hockey team?”

Not anymore.

The Thrashers are finished in Atlanta. It’s time to pack up the franchise and move it up north. I had high hopes that Atlanta could become a hocky town this time around, but the mis-management of the franchise kept that from happening. The sad thing is that a well run franchise could have been successful here, but after two failed efforts at an NHL team in Atlanta, I doubt the city will get another chance.

It’s been frustrating to watch the owners stand by and do nothing as Don Waddell has taken a team with all the potential in the world, and some of the best players in the game, and run it into the ground. Waddell deserves a lot of the blame, but the owners deserve even more for letting it happen.

While I’m passing out blame for the demise of the Thrashers franchise, I can’t let the NHL off the hook. The league needs hocky fans in major US markets like Atlanta. By letting third rate owners run the Atlanta franchise into the ground, the NHL has lost another opportunity to make hockey relavent in this part of the country.

Oh well, back to football…

ByeKovy

February 3rd, 2010
5:16 pm

Anybody else think that Kovy’s agent knew exactly what he was doing — asking an exorbitant price that he knew ASG couldn’t/wouldn’t pay, just so he could get out of having to stay in ATL –?

TrafficHeadache

February 3rd, 2010
5:17 pm

Philips Arena will become an albatross to Atlanta, housing only basketball, rock concerts, the Barnum & Bailey circus and wrestling.

I'm done

February 3rd, 2010
5:17 pm

I’m lost for word on this one. How can you trade away talent after talent year after year? This Waddell guy remind me of the Smith brother that would not spend money to bring in top talent when they were owners of the Falcons. Please get Waddell out of Atlanta quick fast and in a hurry..

builder dawg

February 3rd, 2010
5:18 pm

Waddell is an absolute MORON, I hope he gets canned because of his stupid decisions how can you let a player like Kovy go? If I had any confidence in waddells trade expertice, well it might be different, but all he will get is a handfull of beads and a mirror in return. Why should I spend my good money to go see the thrashers when I know wad-dell doesn’t know his anus from a hole in the ground.In this economy, seeing a idiot like wad-dell keep his job is a joke to anyone in the business world, or any world. Ownership is a JOKE gm is a MONSTER JOKE players can’t help it.Hey wad-dell, you will not see another PENNY of my money, I earn my money and will not throw any your way you stupid SO# !!! GO CAPS at least they care and dont have a retard for a GM.

falcon71

February 3rd, 2010
5:20 pm

Appears hockey is about to fail for the 2nd time in Atlanta. Difference is the Flames were pretty good.

JewellNelson

February 3rd, 2010
5:20 pm

Its amazing but it looks like the Thrashers are following in the same footsteps of the Braves and Falcons. I feel bad for Kovy but its best to get it out in the open and not hide and play mind games with him. When they get a great “cornerstone” franchise player like Heatley, Hossier or Kovulchuk, instead of building around them, essentially building a dynasty, they instead see if they can hold a team hostage and get many players for the one great superstar hoping to take a shortcut approach to building. The Braves do this a lot and so do the Falcons and I think it is the wrong way to build. The Hawks did it right when they got Joe Johnson “a true superstar” they continued to build and other players around Joe have evolved into superstars; Al Horford, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford, etc. Another benefit of building the way the Hawks do is that you will attract marquee superstars from other clubs who are unable to resign deals; maybe players like Tracy McGrady, Kevin Durant, those type of players may come here and give us an explosive team. But it all starts with the CORNERSTONE superstar, Joe Johnson, who sacrificed everything to come to Atlanta and help build a winner. The Hawks are almost there but they continue to lose games they should win and that is what is keeping them from being an elite team.

KnightInATL

February 3rd, 2010
5:21 pm

It is truly unbelievable how Don Waddell still has a JOB with the Atlanta Spirit Group!! There is not another city in the entire free world where a man that has failed time after time after time after time where he would still be in the employ of that team.

The bottom line is that the ASG does not care whether hockey succeeds in Atlanta. They continue to show this; not just by keeping Waddell around, but also by the fact that they refuse to spend any money on any FAs worth noting. The Atlanta Spirit Group could ABSOLUTELY CARE LESS about the hockey fans in Atlanta. To say that apathy has set in would be a gross understatement.

Bottom line is that I am done spending a single penny of my hard earned money on a franchise that continuously refuses to offer a worthwhile product.

Say Goodnight to Hockey in Atlanta…..again.

Rich from the Sports Buffet

February 3rd, 2010
5:22 pm

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
5:23 pm

Schultz – If you were handicapping, who would you pick as the dancing partner in this transaction?

CobbThrasher

February 3rd, 2010
5:23 pm

Congrats for killing hockey in Atlanta Don!!! I was a kid when the Flames broke my heart and Don is now in the process of doing the same to my son. I doubt my grandson will have the opportuity.

Best of luck Kovy! It was a pleasure watching you. I’ll always root for you, especially with no stars left to root for here.

Matt B.

February 3rd, 2010
5:26 pm

One note for everyone here: Please do not mention Heatley as a potential franchise player that got away. Heatley turned hi back on Atlanta after we backed him up and then weaseled his way out of Ottawa. DW and ASG have ruined hockey in Atlanta, but Heatley dealt it a pretty serious blow all by himself.

Clint

February 3rd, 2010
5:31 pm

Ilya is the only reason I became a Thrashers fan. He is awesome to watch. When he is gone, I’ll stop paying attention to them. They are always rebuilding.

Dip

February 3rd, 2010
5:32 pm

Does Arthur Blank have a spare $150M to buy this franchise? I’m sure he could buy this at bargin pricing. We need the White Jewish Knight to ride again and save another Atlanat Franchise! Arthur’s first move would be to give Waddell the “Fredo kiss”!

WGD

February 3rd, 2010
5:32 pm

Well, that’s it for me. We’ve had season tickets ($115 per seat per game x 4) for the past three years but DW and the “Spirit” have ruined hockey for Atlanta and they’ll get no more of my money. Nonetheless, we wish Kovy th best!

Otto

February 3rd, 2010
5:33 pm

Another mismanaged Atlanta sports team….

It is a shame there was a decent crowd at the game last night especially considering the slide the team is on. Yes I was there and attend more Thrashers games than the other pro teams combined.

If an owner were to spend the money and put a division winning team on the ice the team would do well at the ticket office.

kcs

February 3rd, 2010
5:34 pm

Tough day for Thrashers’ fans, but I think you’re better off without Kovalchuk.

The deal his agent is demanding is not a bona-fide offer. It’s designed so Atlanta will not accept. Kovy wants out, with the ultimate objective of playing off the KHL versus NHL offers after he’s UFA this summer.

He’s a marvelous talent, but also a mercenary. Not the player around whom to build your franchise. Not captain material.

As bad as Don Waddell has been, he’s doing the right thing here, creating a bidding frenzy around Kovy. Would you rather he go the route the Panthers followed with J-Bo last year?

Don’t despair. You’ve still got terrific young talent: Bogo, Enstrom, Kane, Pavelec. Another couple of pieces, maybe coming to you in the next few hours, and in a season or two your team is a perennial playoff lock.

This ain’t basketball, guys. One player, no matter how strong, does not a winning team make.

Bob

February 3rd, 2010
5:34 pm

“There is no sane or logical reason that DW still has his job. He will go down as one of the three worst GM’s in any sports history.”

Interesting, and I agree, but I’m having a tough time coming up with the 2nd worst GM if Waddell is 3. Matt Millen, Waddell, and who?

Keep checking the wire, we should get the news of who the trade is with as soon as the NHL clears it (and from the delay, mabye it’s a 3way or some complicated deal).

Tee

February 3rd, 2010
5:35 pm

R. Stroz — it doesn’t matter who Wadsy picks as a dancing partner: They are going to take him on a snipe hunt…holding the bag. Wads must like the feeling of getting bent over the woodpile. He does it time after time after time.
So, who is next to be traded? Kari? Maxi? Kozlov? We might as well trade the last two number one draft picks now before we get into another contract situation. And, the Thrashers go to Winnepeg.

Lous

February 3rd, 2010
5:35 pm

DW doesn’t understand anything about bargaining. He couldn’t work a deal to get laid, in a women’s prison with a hand full of pardons. Goodbye Thrashers!

LAC

February 3rd, 2010
5:36 pm

Matt Ryan, I don’t know him, what position does he play for the Braves ?
Is he a Free agent or a rookie who has been in AAA ball?

I know there are some pitchers who are close, but that name does not ring a bell. Will have to check the Braves website to get his stats…

geo

February 3rd, 2010
5:36 pm

i just hope we trade him for as many draft picks as possible because we have a beast of a hockey scout Rick Dudely who is beginning to draft the players we need to make a contender. if you dont know who he is you need to look him up because he was behind the building of tampa bay when they won the cup and more recently behind the resurgence of chicago. wadell has the best scout in the league right now we need to restock the shelves with young talent. enough with this kovy crap hes a lousy backchecker anyway.

ThrashDawg

February 3rd, 2010
5:37 pm

I wonder how much Waddell gets paid? I don’t know that I would take the job of absorbing all the heat while the ownership pulls the strings.

ThrashDawg

February 3rd, 2010
5:38 pm

In fact, I hear DW and Kovy are very close. Waddell maybe the next GM for the team he trades Kovy to. That would be something!