Home > Trades > Evaluating the Kovalchuk Trade

Evaluating the Kovalchuk Trade

When I heard last night that the Devils had pulled the trigger on a trade for talented left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk, I almost couldn’t believe it. General manager Lou Lamoriello made one of the best trades of the season and brought the team a bona fide scoring threat. There hasn’t been a trade this big since 2001 – 2002, when the team traded for Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner. The breakdown of the trade deserves a closer look, because Lamoriello almost stole Kovalchuk from the Thrashers.

Here’s the breakdown of the two-team trade:

ATL RECEIVES:

RW NICLAS BERGFORS, D JOHNNY ODUYA, C PATRICE CORMIER, 2010 FIRST ROUND PICK, 2010 SECOND ROUND PICK

NJD RECEIVE:

LW ILYA KOVALCHUK, D ANSSI SALMELA, 2010 SECOND ROUND PICK

What the Devils gave up to get Kovalchuk isn’t very much. Bergfors looks to be a promising player, but he seemed to be chafing under coach Jaques Lemaire system. He hasn’t done much recently, and he’s been relegated to the fourth line. Oduya looked to be a rising star last season, putting up seven goals and 22 assists and finishing the season at a +21. But he hasn’t performed well after signing three-year, $10.5 million dollar contract. He missed over 10 games with a groin injury, but he didn’t seem to be the same player as usual. Patrice Cormier, who was recently suspended for the rest of the season by the QMJHL, seems to be a promising prospect. But I suspect his recent activity – two intentional elbows in games, including the one for which he was suspended, gave Lamoriello cause for concern. Even the first-round pick is little compensation, because it’ll probably be a late round pick.

Overall, Lamoriello pulled the trigger on a deal that needed to get done. The Devils haven’t been scoring lately, and they’re also mired in a terrible rut. The team has lost eight of their last 11 games going into tonight’s contest, and they’ve been shut out in three of those games. Kovalchuk adds an immediate scoring impact and gives the Devils two scoring lines. He also plays the point on the powerplay, which has been anemic.

There is one bad thing about this trade. Kovalchuk is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so staying with the team isn’t a guarantee. But the trade allows the Devils to really compete with the Capitals and Penguins, which I see being the two biggest challenges to a Stanley Cup run. Even if he only becomes a rental, the trade was a great one for the Devils.

They can’t be done yet. They still need to shore up the blue line, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Lamoriello pull off his trademark small-move deal to bring in a defenseman.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: