The Latest on Kovalchuk and the Rangers
And we’re out! or so we thought. Yesterday, Sports-Express writer Igor Eronko tweeted that the Rangers were out of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Larry Brooks of the New York Post quickly refuted that claim:
With the tweetstorm that followed, it got me thinking of just what a Kovalchuk trade with the Rangers might look like. Would the price be higher just because they’re the Rangers? Who would the trade revolve around and just what would the Devils want from the Rangers in a Kovalchuk trade?
The Devils need help all over and the Rangers due to their depth could help them in some areas. Forget about sending them defensive help because that’s one area we can’t afford to lose any talent in but as for our forward group, there could be some players that the Rangers could afford to look at trading. A further complication of a possible Kovalchuk trade is the looming expansion draft where a player the Rangers could think about trading may get claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights.
With all that being said just which of our forwards would be good to build a package around for Kovalchuk? Brooks believes that Oscar Lindberg would be a “legitimate candidate for a top-six role in New Jersey.” Lindberg is a fantastic player who I feel could even play a top six role for the blueshirts if need be. There’s some nights where he looks preferable to Kevin Hayes or Derek Stepan. Of course there would need to be more added to this deal, possibly some combination of picks or prospects. Maybe the Rangers throw in someone like Ryan Gropp to sweeten the pot. One of the few big reasons this trade may never come to fruition though is that Lindberg may get claimed in the expansion draft.
Could Ray Shero also end up charging the Rangers more simply because they are the Rangers? Fans would say yes but at the end of the day hockey is a business and the Devils and Rangers are simply two teams that play in close proximity. The rivalry is there yes there’s no denying that but you have to believe if a trade can be struck that benefits both teams then there’s no reason Gorton and Shero won’t do business. Would the Devils prefer not to trade within the division and have Kovalchuk hurt them? Sure but if the Rangers give them the best deal there’s a possibility it could happen.
With that being said, just where will Ilya Kovalchuk end up if he dosen’t come to the Rangers? According to Brooks “more than half a dozen” teams were and possibly still are interested in acquiring the former Rocket Richard trophy winner. Those teams are believed to include the Toronto Maple Leafs, the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues. All three of those teams have the assets and reasons to trade for Kovalchuk. This saga may drag on for awhile but as always Fulltilt will have the latest for you all whenever news is released.