Will the Leafs get Ilya Kovalchuk next summer? This is a question that will certainly be contemplated more and more as next summer approaches and the rumours will certainly swirl. Everyone knows that Ilya won’t even look at the contract until he is certain that the Thrashers are heading in the right direction. They have made some decent moves but is it enough to lure Kovalchuk into signing a contract with the Thrashers again? This is the question and one most people would love to have answered by the man himself, unfortunately he’s too smart for that and will wait it out till the end.
Now the Leafs if given the option will have an interesting player to contemplate over. There is no reason why an offer wouldn’t be made even if it isn’t what Kovalchuk wants. It’s a given that every NHL team would love to have him on their team but who can afford him will show up who the real players are in the Kovy sweepstakes. The Leafs will certainly have enough money to throw at Ilya but one has to wonder what the maximum is that they can offer. There were rumours about Atlanta considering giving Ilya the maximum and if they decide to do that then perhaps it’s time for Don Waddell to turn off NHL 09 for a while and snap back to reality. There is no player in the NHL worth the maximum. This is not a one man show where one guy does everything. If Ilya is looking for that kind of money he will only get it from the Thrashers so he better lower his expectations big time.
Brian Burke will certainly show an interest in Ilya who might just be the final piece to this never ending puzzle. A proven 50 goal scorer is exactly what the current team needs but Burke and Nonis will know that if they offer to much then they may be risking the Leafs’ future and that’s never a good thing.
Ilya has been a fantastic player for the Thrashers and his stats from last year show that he’s certainly not lost his touch. The real positive and perhaps a negative is that he can score a ton of goals no matter who you put on his line. Unfortunately that’s a huge negative as well because he basically hogs the puck and I am sure Wilson would have none of that no matter who the guy is. We all know Ilya is probably one of the best pure snipers in the game and he can dangle the puck at will around high calibre defenseman. This is something you love to have on your team.
If you were to ask me if the Leafs will go after Ilya next summer, my answer would be yes. If you were to ask me if they will sign Ilya, I would have to say NO. Simply because some idiot will come and sign him to the maximum and regret it for the rest of his life. If that idiots doesn’t show up then Ilya will certainly get an interesting offer from the Leafs. We all know that Ilya would love to play in a hockey hotbed because he loves the attention, but would he be willing to lower his financial expectations a little bit?