With the Isles off for the next few days, I figured I'd discuss with you my thoughts on what is probably the most intriguing trade rumor that I have read thus far. Again, they are just rumors, and although Hockeybuzz gets these rumors from "reliable sources," they are still just rumors that may not develop into anything more than just food for thought. But here we go.
What if you heard on March 4, 2009 that the Isles traded their first round pick (and what seems to be either the 1st or 2nd overall pick in this year's draft) for a signed Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers?
It would be monstrous...either a complete disaster or one of the best deals made. The fact that Garth Snow has shown that he is not afraid to make a big splash in the trade market as seen with the Ryan Smyth exchange, we know that nothing can be taken for granted. He has stated that he is committed to developing a young successful team in the future...that this year and the next few years would be dedicated to the maturation process of players like Okposo, Bailey, Tambellini, Bergenheim, Nielsen, Campoli, Gervais, and so on. In order to do that, Snow has stated that he would rebuild through the draft with "the sprinkling" of a few free agents in the off-season. So would he possibly trade Tavares for Kovalchuk straight up?
In my opinion, as great as Ilya would look in an Islanders uniform, I would have to say this is the wrong deal to make. There is no doubt that he is one of the most flashy and dynamic forwards in the game; he always makes his presence felt when we play the Thrashers and has some of the best hands in the league. On the other hand, Tavares has been seen as a 'god amongst men' in the OHL.
Due to a birthday conflict, Tavares was held back from being drafted last year, where he most likely would have went first overall as well after scoring 118 points in 59 games with the Oshawa Generals. Now he has captured a gold-medal with the Canadian Juniors team and is still dominating after being traded to the London Knights. Currently, John has 28 goals and 56 points in 33 games, on pace for another similar year. He has shown great leadership capabilities and the ability to single-handedly decide a hockey game.
Personally, I would much rather draft Tavares and whomever else we can this year with whatever trade we make. Doug Weight may bring us another first round pick...Guerin and Comrie may add depth in the draft as well. In the off-season maybe we would be able to re-sign Weight and Guerin or maybe a better-scoring pair like the Sedin twins. Either way, the Isles do need to keep a strong veteran nucleus with a young re-building team, Kovalchuk or no Kovalchuk. As enjoyable as it would be to watch him score goals for the Isles as opposed to against them, I would much rather watch Tavares turn into a player that might eventually be better than Ilya in the years that follow.
If Snow is indeed committed to building a contender through the draft, he should stick to the plan and avoid any intriguing trades such as this.
What do you think? Would you possibly trade Tavares for Kovalchuk?