If Ilya doesn't sign in Atlanta and the Thrashers put him on the market there would be interest from a host of teams around the league. The "roomered" asking price (according to Ek) is "a pick, a player that can help Atlanta now, and a top, top NHL prospect".
Now if I'm Darryl, there are only a couple of pure prospects in the cupboard that I could even consider "top, top NHL prospects": Backlund, and Nemisz. If possible, I don't want to part with either of them.
That being said, I personally think that a compelling offer could be made...
From the Flames:
1. Dion Phaneuf - Knock him if you want, but Dion's still a very special player. He's young, he's marketable, he's learning to actually play defense... and paired with Zach Bogosian... would there be a more intimidating defensive pairing in the league?
From the Flames perspective, as good as Dion can be on certain nights, right now with the depth of this defensive core, he's expendable. By dropping this salary, you can bring in Ilya, and actually even start to think about signing him long term.
2. Rene Bourque - His contract's up for renewal this year, but on his current contract he's one of the best bargains in the league. If Kovalchuk leaves town, the Thrashers would need immediate help on offense, and Rene could help now. Don't get me wrong, I love Rene Bourque and would be thrilled to see him locked up in Calgary, but if you can get an Ilya Kovalchuk... I'd make the deal.
Next year Rene's going to cost 3.5-4 mil... save that cash. Throw it at Kovy.
3. Freddy Sjostrom/Dustin Boyd (Personally, I'd rather keep Boyd)
4. A decent prospect - (Mitch Wahl, or Keith Seabrook maybe).
Now let's compare that to Alex Semin, Karl Alzner, and a pick...
I think we're contenders.
What do you think? Would you do it? Is the price too high? If we managed to get him, do you think Darryl could sign him?
We saw what Iggy can do with a sniper on the left side... Cammy was a great fit. But Kovy is better.
Thanks for reading, this has officially been my first blog.