Gigantic breaking news out of the National Hockey League, as ESPN’s Barry Melrose is reporting that Thrashers LW and team captain Ilya Kovalchuk has been traded to the New Jersey Devils. Terms of the deal are undisclosed, but one source claims the Devils will give up D Johnny Oduya, RW Niclas Bergfors, a prospect to be named later, and a first-round pick.
As speculated by SFC earlier this week, Kovalchuk joins a Devils team that is surging near the top of the Eastern Conference. However, Ilya now becomes a key member of a squad that has lost two straight, being embarrassed in the process.
Kovalchuk had recently turned down a $100 million+ deal from the Thrashers, a sign that he would not re-sign at the conclusion of this season. A move to the Prudential Center with the promising New Jersey team makes this upcoming off-season a little more interesting.
A former number one pick, Kovalchuk leads all active players in goals since 2001 with 328, a source of offense that is much needed for a Devils team that has been looking to replace Patrick Elias, who went down to injury a few weeks ago.
The move is rather uncharacteristic of Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who tends to emphasize the defensive aspect of the sport. With Martin Brodeur in his corner however, it is understandable why Lou would take a risk with this deal.
We will have more as details are released from this groundbreaking trade in the world of hockey!