Rumors from the Ottawa Sun
The Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes are cooling off, just at the wrong time for Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell.
With only two weeks until the Olympic break and a roster freeze that runs Feb. 12-28 — up until three days before the trade deadline — sources say Waddell’s phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook.
At this point, it would appear more teams are out of the running than actually vying for Kovalchuk.
The belief is the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers both looked into acquiring the potential unrestricted free agent, but don’t consider themselves contenders.
Waddell, however, was at the Flyers-Isles game Saturday in Philly.
The Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings are also interested in Kovalchuk, but neither has held serious talks because Waddell’s asking price is too steep.
If he doesn’t lower his demands, he’ll have to keep Kovalchuk until the draft and risk losing the franchise player for nothing in July.
“The Thrashers are in the same position as the Panthers were last year with Jay Bouwmeester,” noted a league source. “The Panthers kept holding onto him and holding onto him, then they had nobody at the deadline who wanted to make the deal.”
Florida missed a huge opportunity. At the draft, days before likely losing Bouwmeester for nothing, the Panthers sent the big defenceman to the Calgary Flames for Jordan Leopold and a third-round pick.
Waddell, meanwhile, wants assets that are going to help him right now. The teams involved in the bidding can afford to pay the $1.5 million Kovalchuk will be owed for the rest of this season after the deadline, but neither the Bruins nor the Kings want to touch their rosters.
“I would hazard to guess that nobody has gotten serious and that has to have Waddell worried,” said the source.
Off the glass
The Edmonton Oilers are finding out D Sheldon Souray and his $5.4-million cap hit are a tough sell. They’ve asked for a list of teams where he’d be willing to go, but few can afford him and that presents a major problem. There is talk of interest from the Devils. It’s likely mild on both sides … Two of my favourite GMs, Florida’s Randy Sexton and Vancouver’s Mike Gillis, are both shopping for help down the middle. Both could be looking at Carolina C Matt Cullen … Boston D Zdeno Chara has been getting criticized for his inconsistent play this season, but it should be noted he played with an undisclosed hand injury for two months. He had the cast removed last week and is fine … The Carolina Hurricanes may have asked D Niclas Wallin to waive his no-trade clause so he can be dealt to the San Jose Sharks.
Have a nice Sunday.