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Kovalchuk rumors heating up

February 3, 2010 |  5:12 pm

The Atlanta Thrashers might be ready to trade two-time 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk soon.

Fabforum Canada's TSN network reported that a deal could come down within hours or days.  The Kings are known to be interested in the prolific left wing and have talked to the Thrashers, but Atlanta is asking a lot and it's unclear if General Manager Don Waddell has reduced his asking price. One of his requests from the Kings was for right wing Dustin Brown and defenseman Jack Johnson, a lot to ask in return for a player who isn't signed beyond this season. And remember, Waddell hasn't let Kovalchuk's agent talk to other teams to discuss potential contract extensions.

All indications are that Kovalchuk wants a deal for 10 years or more at the maximum salary, about $11 million depending on where the salary cap is set.

The Blackhawks were rumored to be a strong suitor in the early going but apparently have pulled back. The Devils, Flyers, Canucks and Rangers have also been inquiring about what it will take to acquire the 26-year-old Russian.

The Thrashers don't play again until Friday at Washington, and a lot could happen before then.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Ilya Kovalchuk. Credit: Dale Zanine, U.S. Presswire.