Isles In On Kovalchuk?

Ilya Kovalchuk (Julian III/Flickr)

Okposo carries the puck through the neutral zone, head-mans Kocalchuk up the far-side boards…he dekes through the D, finds Tavares open in the slot, he shoots…HE SCORES!

How nice would it be to hear that on a consistent basis? Very nice…almost too nice.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post recently reported that the Islanders are in on making a trade for Atlanta Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk by this season’s trade deadline. Garth Snow declined to comment on the matter, but according to Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank, the General Manager told Newsday reporter Arthur Staple that he is not going to stray from his plan of building from within.

Although the thought of Kovalchuk playing on this team is enough to make me want to call Garth myself and tell him to make the trade, it would be a big mistake for this Isles club. Who would the Islanders give up in return? It would most certainly cost us our first-round pick, but keep in mind that right now this team is in the playoff hunt. That pick won’t be as high as Atlanta would like, meaning more would have to be involved. Such names as Calvin de Haan, Jyri Niemi, Kirill Petrov and Jesse Joensuu have been thrown around. For most of you readers that aren’t Isles fans, with the exception of de Haan and Petrov, you’re probably asking, ‘who the hell are these guys?’ That’s enough of a reason for the Thrashers to not accept any offer the Isles put on the table.

Kyle Okposo (ShutterSpeak/Flickr)

If the Thrashers were to deal Ilya to the Islanders, someone like Kyle Okposo would have to be included in the exchange, and you can bet all your money that Kyle is going to be an Islander for a very long time. Emerging forwards such as Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson are here to stay, and John Tavares being traded is about as laughable as Mike Milbury being welcomed back as Isles General Manager. Like Snow told Staple, he intends on sticking to his plan of building from within. That doesn’t mean the Islanders won’t explore the possibility of adding a player like Kovalchuk to their roster. But if Snow is unwilling to trade away his future, it’s going to be very difficult for the Isles GM to bring in an impact player before the end of the regular season.

That doesn’t mean that the Islanders are going to be inactive at the trade deadline. I’m sure Garth hopes to add a few depth players to help this team push for the playoffs if they are still this close by March. As far as a major goal scorer goes, my advice is to not hold your breath if you’re an Islanders fan. You can expect Garth to look into adding a few pieces over the summer; another top-4 offensive defenseman and a top-six winger. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give the fourth line a make-over as well since Park, Jackman and Thompson combine for a -41 on the season. But I would not expect anything of major significance to happen this year.

-Rob McGowan