Okay folks, it's about that time. Time to speculate about trading options, that is.
Who makes the finest trade bait on your melancholic Atlanta Thrashers? There are two ways to look at this, of course: a) a situation that involves trading the Czar, and b) a situation that doesn't.
I'd prefer Option B, of course, so let's start there:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for a hard-shooting defenseman to help them out on the power play, as Sergei Gonchar is out with an injury. Perhaps Mathieu Schneider could be of some service. The Thrashers could perhaps send Schneider, Eric Perrin, and some other losers to Pittsburgh in exchange for the totally awesome Jordan Staal.
Meanwhile the Thrashers trade Kari Lehtonen and Boris Valabik and/or Garnet Exelby to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Jason Spezza.
Our first line would be Kovalchuk-Spezza-Staal, surely the finest in the NHL and featuring that hard-hitting power forward that your Chronique de Bleuland editor so ardently wants at the right wing.
This is completely insane and will never happen, of course, so let's look into Option A:
If the Thrashers traded Kovalchuk, they would inevitably get a massive return, and there are plenty of teams around the league that would be more than happy to trade for him. A few possible destinations might include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Sidney Crosby needs a high-scoring winger, and Kovalchuk would fulfill that need and easily earn us Jordan Staal or Evgeni Malkin.
Philadelphia would love to have him as well: the Thrash could get Jeff Carter, surely.
Not sure what Toronto would offer us.
There is one more option, of course. We could simply trade everybody--Kovalchuk, Lehtonen, Kozlov, White, Schneider, Moose, everybody--and get a huge helping of draft picks and young'ins. That would mean that everything Don Waddell has ever done is a gigantic retarded disaster, of course, and honor would compel him to resign. Presumably.
It's not that DW didn't have the right idea at the beginning: Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley/Marian Hossa, Kari Lehtonen, Braydon Coburn (or Dion Phaneuf, if scouts were clairvoyant), and additions like Marc Savard, Slava Kozlov, Greg de Vries, and an aging-but-effective Peter Bondra add up to an excellent team.
It's just that everything went wrong. Not all of it was DW's fault, perhaps not even most of it. But everything went wrong. Everything.