Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuck, this year's top catch on the NHL's trade market, may be on his way to Hollywood. Sources are rumbling that a deal is nearly complete that would send Atlanta's franchise player to the Kings. There are currently no details on what the Thrashers would receive in return for one of the NHL's top snipers.
Atlanta made Kovalchuk the first overall pick in the 2001 draft and he has registered 328 goals and 287 assists for 615 points in 593 career games, including 31 goals and 27 assists so far this season. But with Kovalchuk's first crack at unrestricted free agency approaching, Thrashers GM Don Waddell has struggled to convince the Russian that Atlanta can put together a competitive team around him in Blueland.
Los Angeles have been perhaps the busiest shopper in the early goings of the this season's trade deadline frenzy. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported today that the Kings were so close to an agreement with Carolina for Ray Whitney that Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi spoke to Whitney's agent about an extension — a conversation that reportedly ended when the 37-year-old forward, who has a no-trade clause — asked for a three-year extension.
But it appears Lombardi has moved on from Whitney — and perhaps Atlanta's 2-1 loss tonight to Tampa Bay will be Kovalchuk's last with the Thrashers.
Mike's Update: Just wanted to put my two cents in here...for anyone worried that we're going to turn into a rumor site, we definitely will not. This came from a source that many of the SBN hockey folks trust, and while nothing's certain until it's certain, we felt as a group that it was reliable enough to be put up as food for thought.
Mike's Update 2: Corrected Cory's typo for source (singular), not sources (plural).