Ilya Kovalchuk trade impact on Devils, Thrashers

Kovy.jpgIlya Kovalchuk was supposed to be the Moses of the Atlanta Thrashers. Even from his first season, few could doubt the left winger’s all-world goal scoring abilities. Before Alex Ovechkin came along, it seemed like “Kovy” was going to be the heir apparent to Pavel Bure as an unstoppable Russian goal scoring machine. Either way, he was supposed to be a superstar who led the Thrashers to the Promised Land.

Of course, that already-cratering dream came crashing down forever in February 2010 when Kovalchuk forced the franchise’s hand (or did GM Don Waddell finally lose his patience? Or something in between?) and the team moved Kovalchuk to Newark. Tonight will provide an awkward reunion for the sniper and his former team, especially since a Kovalchuk goal could drive the final nail into the coffin for Atlanta’s playoff hopes.

Rather than discussing the merits of Atlanta fans booing (or applauding) the former star, I thought it would be more constructive to take a look at how Kovalchuk, the Devils and the Thrashers played since the big move. The first spreadsheet includes Kovalchuk’s stats along with New Jersey’s win-loss record. The second provides the Thrashers’ results without the face of their franchise. Notice how similar the two team’s records are (despite Atlanta’s horrible powerplay). Naturally, click the two spreadsheets to better read the results.

kovyandthedevs.PNG

***

atlantaafterkovalchuk.PNG

Again, the two teams’ results are strikingly similar; New Jersey is 10-9-4 with Kovalchuk while Atlanta is 10-8-5 without him. Numbers-wise, Kovalchuk is still a point per game player (9 goals, 14 assists for 23 points in 23 games) and hasn’t hurt his team with costly penalties. I heard some rumors from sources including The New York Post that the Devils will wait until after the playoffs to negotiate with Kovalchuk. That seems like a reasonable train of thought to me; after all, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t exactly known for handing out big contracts, particularly to seemingly one-dimensional players. That being said, Kovalchuk has a chance to prove his value during the playoffs (although he might prove himself so valuable that he prices himself out of New Jersey).

In other words, there’s a decent chance that he might have yet another awkward reunion next year – only that time around it would happen in Newark.

Scroll Down For:

    Pens waive veteran forward Fehr

    PITTSBURGH, OH - FEBRUARY 25:  Eric Fehr #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins warms up prior to the start of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field on February 25, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Noteworthy move out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday — the Pens have waived 31-year-old Eric Fehr.

    Fehr, in the last of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M cap hit, has appeared in 55 games this season, scoring six goals and 11 points while averaging just under 11 minutes a night.

    He was also a regular in last year’s Stanley Cup run, scoring three times in 23 games.

    Though his role decreased, Fehr was still frequently used by head coach Mike Sullivan — albeit in a more limited capacity. He was a good PK contributor, and did play over 10 minutes in Saturday’s outdoor game win over the Flyers, registering an assist.

    The immediate speculation is that Pens GM Jim Rutherford waived Fehr to clear some cap space for a future deal. Rutherford already acquired Ron Hainsey to help bandage the Pens’ defense, and could be pushed to make another splash in the wake of Washington’s blockbuster deal to get Kevin Shattenkirk.

    With Blues in ‘precarious playoff spot,’ it was time for Shattenkirk to go

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues in action against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on December 21, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
    Getty
    Leave a comment

    If the St. Louis Blues were enjoying another season like they enjoyed last year, they wouldn’t have traded Kevin Shattenkirk.

    But in the words of GM Doug Armstrong, the Blues are currently “in a precarious playoff spot,” so yesterday Shattenkirk was dealt to Washington for a haul that included a first-round draft pick in 2017 and 22-year-old forward Zach Sanford.

    “It just felt that where we are and where we need to go, it was time to make a move,” Armstrong said.

    “I think when we got through last year’s playoffs, knowing that we were going to be entering unrestricted free agency with a number of players over a two- or three-year span, we wanted to turn the tide over to a different core group of players, and this just continues down that path.”

    Armstrong listed Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, and Robby Fabbri as parts of the new core.

    “There’s change in this game,” said Armstrong. “All organizations go through it.”

    The Blues enter tonight’s game against the Oilers just two points clear of the Kings for the second wild-card spot in the West.

     

    Sens are ‘ecstatic’ to add Burrows

    Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 28, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
    AP
    1 Comment

    The Ottawa Senators made Alex Burrows‘ contract extension official this morning.

    The day after acquiring the 35-year-old forward from Vancouver, the Sens announced that Burrows had signed a two-year, $5 million extension with a 10-team no-trade clause.

    Ottawa gave up 19-year-old prospect Jonathan Dahlen to get Burrows from the Canucks.

    “I think we’ve become a tougher team to play against and with the acquisition of Alex Burrows we’ve become an even tougher team to play against,” said GM Pierre Dorion, per the Ottawa Sun. “We all know how games are at this time of the year and, hopefully, when our team gets in the playoffs, how they’re grinding, difficult games.

    “Getting someone of Alex’s character is something we couldn’t turn (away from). Our players have done exactly what we’ve asked of them. They’ve played hard, they’ve played a system and we just felt it was time to add another piece. In Alex Burrows, we’re ecstatic to have that piece.”

    After last night’s 5-1 loss in Tampa Bay, the Sens only have a four-point playoff cushion, so there’s still work to be done down the stretch.

    Ottawa hosts Colorado Thursday.

    Related: Canucks GM says he isn’t done after trading ‘heart and soul’ guy Burrows

    ‘Hawks sign Rozsival, Tootoo to one-year extensions

    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Michal Rozsival #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks passes against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on December 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Sharks 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Getty
    7 Comments

    Chicago re-upped with a pair of veteran skaters on Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contract extensions with d-man Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo.

    At first glance, these deals certainly appear to be expansion draft-related. The Sun-Times notes this will allow ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman to protect former first-round pick Ryan Hartman, who’s enjoying a breakout campaign with 15 goals through 57 games.

    Rozsival, 38, has been the more active of today’s signees, appearing in 51 contests while notching a pair of points. He’s won a pair of Stanley Cups in Chicago.

    Tootoo, 34, was signed last summer and has appeared in 36 games. He’s gone scoreless while racking up 21 PIM.

    Rozsival’s current deal pays $600,000, while Tootoo’s is at $750,000. Terms of their extensions weren’t released but it’s fair to suggest the dollar figures will be similar, given Chicago’s pressed right up against the cap ceiling.

    UPDATE:

    Bowman certainly seems to be getting his house in order ahead of the aforementioned expansion draft. Last week, he inked journeyman goalie Jeff Glass to a two-year deal, another move that appeared to be with Vegas in mind.