McKenzie: Flames have eye on Kovie

Jean Lefebvre
January 22 2010 11:11AM

Interesting nugget from TSN's Bob McKenzie today as he suggests the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks are his front-runners in the presumed Ilya Kovalchuk Sweepstakes that will develop if and when the Atlanta Thrashers decide to move the Russian winger.

McKenzie is worth paying attention to because unlike some of the less-reputable media types out there, he's careful about spouting off on any old rumour that crosses his path and, just as importantly, he makes careful note to emphasize what part of his reports comes from sources and what part consists of speculation on his part.

That said, it's a little surprising that McKenzie says so matter-of-factly that Dion Phaneuf would be merely a starting point of a larger Flames package that would be needed to land Kovalchuk. We get the fact that Phaneuf's stock has fallen a lot in the last 18 months but at the same time, Kovalchuk is playing out his contract, so his rent-a-player status will surely have an impact on the return the Thrashers will get. The reports of Kovalchuk's willingness to go to the KHL if he can't get a deal to his liking on this side of the pond only increases the risk for the acquiring team.

Phaneuf, on the other land, is locked up for four more years, although whether that's a good thing or not depends on your feelings on what direction the defenceman's career is headed. The debate about Phaneuf's value aside, the Flames' lack of a 2010 first-round pick (kiitos to Olli Jokinen) may impede any attempt to land a large fish.

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#1 RossCreekNation
January 22 2010, 11:41AM
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They obviously need a scorer, and I'd love Kovalchuk, but I'm not so sure he's a Sutter-type, and I also doubt he'd stick around past this season.

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#2 Brent G.
January 22 2010, 02:02PM
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Maybe I am terribly naive but I think Phaneuf could get them someone who better suits the Flames needs. There is no doubt Kovalchuk is a force to be recogned with but he is wanting a salary close to $10 mill a year for many years. I dont think calgary can give him that and they are essentially trading away their best trading piece for a rental player. With Kovalchuk there they still wouldnt win the cup so its simply not worth it.

Im thinking they should focus their efforts on trading Phaneuf for Booth or Horton (likely a 1 to 1 trade IMO) or Ponikarovsky and a 2nd for Phaneuf. They dont need the flashy players. I would rather good solid 2 way players with consistent offensive contributions.

If Philly didnt pretty much stock out their defensive cupboard I would suggest they try and move him there for Richards. Phaneuf + Aulie for Richards?

Maybe this is stupid but I bet if they wanted to trade him to Montreal for Cammaleri they could. It seems stupid and pointless but he works well with Iggy.

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#3 Brent G.
January 22 2010, 02:06PM
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How about Phaneuf to Ottawa for Spezza. He isnt having a great year but is a good passer and I would think him and Iggy should work very well together. Spezzas stats are down because he doesnt have Heatley to pass to but he would have Iggy to pass to...

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#5 RossCreekNation
January 22 2010, 06:09PM
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@Jean Lefebvre

I think it would be in there best interest to trade Phaneuf (if at all) for a 2 player package - a legitimate top 4 forward, and a capable d-man or prospect.

Not sure about this in particular, but off the top of my head, something along these lines...

Dion Phaneuf (& David Moss)
for
Travis Zajac & Paul Martin (UFA rental)

I'd also take Vinny straight up (but I'm a Vinny lover and don't care about his contract).

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#6 RossCreekNation
January 22 2010, 06:44PM
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@Jean Lefebvre

If you're the Flames GM and Don Waddell starts the conversation with "Who could you package with Phaneuf to get Kovalchuk?" would you not hang up immediately?

In a word... YES.

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#7 Ryan Lambert
January 22 2010, 09:29PM
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i sure wouldn't. so long sulky, have fun in atlanta where no one will realize how bad your bad pinches are

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